THE sports fraternity is waiting with keen interest to see who will be appointed to succeed the late Kabelo Mafura who died on Christmas Eve after a short illness in in Bloemfontein, South Africa after a short illness.
The 66-year old Mafura, who was also the deputy leader Alliance of Democrats (AD) party, is scheduled to be laid to rest at his village of Ha Mafura in the Quthing district.
Ntate Mafura’s death came as a shock to many that saw him attending all official engagements last month without any visible signs of ill health.
I believe that many had warmed up to him after their initial skepticism upon his appointment in June 2017 in the aftermath of the snap elections that same month which ushered in a coalition government which includes his own Alliance of Democrats party. Other parties in the ruling coalition are the All Basotho Convention, The Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho.
The initial misgivings stemmed from the fact that Mr Mafura who had previously been Minister of Forestry had no known sports background.
He however, hit the ground running and rallied the country behind the national football teams, particularly Likuena in its preparations for the regional COSAFA Cup as well the qualifiers of the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
Such was the support he received from his colleagues in government that for the very first time even the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane attended the national team’s send-off ceremony ahead of one of their international matches.
The occasion was described as a historic moment by the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) president Salemane Phafane as it was for the first time in his long tenure that a Prime Minister was able to make time to wish the team well ahead of important matches.
This is something that we had not seen before and it was the beginning of good things to come for sports under the leadership of Ntate Mafura.
After that, we saw his ministry implementing positive decisions including ceding the running of the High Altitude Summer Marathon and the national stadiums to the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission.
Listening to different speakers who addressed Mr Mafura’s memorial service at the Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru on Tuesday, I realised that he was not a selfish individual but rather an honest and dedicated patriot who worked hard to improve those around him and his country.
He was committed to making Lesotho a better country for its people and I hope his colleagues will learn from his humility to serve the country.
He did very well in a short space of time and the future looked bright under his leadership.
Prime Minister Thabane certainly has a big task of appointing a worthy successor to fill Ntate Mafura’s shoes and continue where he left off.
We need a minister who will be humble enough to learn from those that have experience in sports.
This country has suffered a lot over the years especially in sports and we were starting to see progress under the leadership of the late minister. Our hope is to get somebody who will take things to another level.
Rest in Peace Ntate Mafura. You served your country well!