MASERU — The Confederation of Southern African Netball Association (Cosana) senior championships which were scheduled to run from Tuesday to today were cancelled at the last minute last Saturday.
The Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) this week said the cancellation had negatively impacted on the country’s development.
LNA development director, Ramafahla Thamae, told the Lesotho Times they had planned to use the championship to assess the performance of newly appointed national team coach Khauhelo Mokapela.
“The cancellation had a negative impact on us as we were told just a day before departure about the cancellation,” Thamae said.
“We also wanted to assess (the coach) to see if he is capable of successfully leading Lesotho in both the Commonwealth and World Cup qualifiers and this has been a setback,” he said.
This was going to be Mokapela’s first international match as head coach. He was appointed to the post last month.
He said the cancellation had also demoralised the players as they were also looking to redeem their reputation at the games.
“When one prepares intensively for any tournament and not be able to participate, that demoralises players and it has also denied us an opportunity to improve our world rankings,” he said.
Lesotho is currently ranked number 26 out of 32 countries on the International Federation of Netball Association (IFNA)’s latest rankings.
Thamae said they were looking to invite African giants, Malawi, for a friendly match later this year.
Meanwhile, Cosana president Moipone Mashale told the Lesotho Times the games were postponed for the second time this year after countries withdrew at the last minute.
She said Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe withdrew from the games citing lack of funds.
South Africa was the first country to withdraw after most of their players were denied leave days by their employers.
“South Africa first filed their withdrawal letter on August 29 while Botswana and Namibia informed us of their decision on September 4. Zimbabwe and Zambia followed on September 6 and we could not continue with the tournament as three remaining countries,” Mashale said.
She said it would have been unfair to impose unnecessary expenses on Lesotho, Malawi and hosts Swaziland.
“The championship was not going to be as competitive as had been planned and it wouldn’t be fair of us to force these three countries into incurring unnecessary expenses,” she said.
She said this has inconvenienced Cosana’s plans as senior championships are held after every two years.
“We will have to strategise and see how we can work around this as next year we will be holding junior championships,” she said.