V/ball teams to miss regional tourney

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Leemisa Thuseho

LESOTHO will not be represented in this year’s edition of the African Zone 6 Senior Volleyball Club Championship in Malawi due to financial challenges.

The country was meant to be represented by 2018 domestic league champions Redskins in both males and females in the competitions from 13 to 22 December 2019.

Being the 2018 league runners-up in both the ladies and men’s, LDF were also entitled to compete in the championships.

However, Lesotho Volleyball Association (LVA) secretary general Sebolelo Ntlhokoe told the Lesotho Times that the local teams would not be part of the games due to financial challenges.

Ntlhokoe said it was the responsibility of the teams to finance their trips to the championship as the association does not sponsor such engagements.

“We do not sponsor teams although in the past we would chip in with assistance depending on our coffers,” Ntlhokoe said.

“We sought assistance from the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) and the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation on behalf of the teams but they said there was no money.”

Ntlhokoe said the Zone 6 championship is one of the regional tournaments that has contributed significantly to the growth of local volleyball and local team’s failure to participate in the tournament was a loss to the local fraternity.

“Teams like Redskins have a good number of young players and were supposed to use the Zone 6 Championships to gain international exposure,” Ntlhokoe said.

For his part, Redskins head coach Lehlohonolo Raletooane said it was painful to fight to win the league only to fail to attend the zonal championships.

“Playing at the zonal championships is the incentive for winning the league. Therefore, failing to attend is likely to demoralise my players.

“Now there is no difference between us and the teams that finished at the bottom of the table. It is going to be difficult to motivate my players next season,” Raletooane said.

Last year the zonal championship was held in South Africa and Raletooane said the trip was cheaper to finance compared to the cost of traveling to Malawi.

Next year, Redskins and LDF teams will still have to represent Lesotho at the games after they finished first and second respectively in this year league race.

“We are waiting to see which country will host the championship next year and see if we can afford to send our teams,” Raletooane added.

Meanwhile this weekend Redskins teams will be in South Africa competing in the 2019 Inter-township Volleyball Tournament in Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal.

LDF volleyball club vice president-administration Hlapane Tšehlo said LDF teams will not make it to Malawi due to lack of funds. He said even the team’s preparations were behind.

“Our team did not have time to prepare for the championship and the main reason was that players were busy with LDF commitments that affected their preparations.

“LDF engagements commitments get priority ahead of anything else. One of the events that affected the preparation is the recent Army Day,” he said.

Tšehlo said even if they were to travel to Malawi, they would only travel with the male team as the female team has only a few players hence cannot compete outside the country.

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