Tragic period for local rugby

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Moorosi Tsiane

TWO months ago, the Mabote Beavers ladies rugby team players, the technical team, supporters were overjoyed after the side won the National Rugby Championship.

Everyone in the team celebrated the victory after the team won its maiden domestic trophy. However, two months down the line, that joy has turned into sorrow.

On Sunday morning we woke up to the disheartening news of the tragic death of five Beavers players in a horrific accident in Free State. The accident also claimed the life of one other person.

Mpho Macheli, Mamello Moseme, Keketso Tšeuoa, Thato Mohai and Lerato Makelepa are the five players who lost their lives after the vehicle they were traveling in burst a tyre and the driver lost control causing it to collide with other cars. The players were on their way to play Mangaung Rugby Club in Bloemfontein.

This was by far the saddest news the sporting fraternity has heard this year and messages of condolences have been pouring in from different sports associations in the country and the region.

Rugby was only launched almost a decade ago in the country and it is still at a developmental stage especially female rugby whose first national team was only launched two years ago.

The deaths of the players has left many people shattered especially those close to the young heroines who were on their way to do battle.

Rugby is one of the few sports in the country which have been making positive strides and for them to lose players in such a horrific manner is gutting.

Parents have been urged to allow their children to participate in sports and I know the accident has left many parents wondering if it is indeed the right move their children to travel far from home to play sports.

The government says it is working with the families of the deceased to see how it can assist in the preparations for the burials.

I commend the government through the sports minister Mahali Phamotse, who has supported the bereaved families in their difficult time.

Hundreds of Basotho who gathered at the Maseru Border on Tuesday could not hold their tears when the bodies arrived.

I understand the pain they all felt especially the schoolmates and families of the deceased. It is an experience I would never wish for my worst enemy.

I have also heard that Beavers coach Letsielo Mabitle is struggling to cope with the situation as he is the one who was driving the car in which the players were travelling. I feel for the man. This is a traumatising experience for him.

Mabitle, who is also the National Rugby Sevens coach is one of the few dedicated coaches in rugby and it is very sad that his acts of kindness have at the end left him with such trauma.

This is indeed a sad time for our sporting fraternity and I would like to pass my condolences to the Federation of Lesotho Rugby, Mabote Beavers, the families and friends of all the players who lost their lives.

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