By Mikia Kalati
THE burial of Lesotho’s legendary former top athlete, Motsapi Moorosi, and LCS’ 0-3 loss to Zimbabwe’s Dynamos in the Champions League were among the many sporting events that made sports headlines across the country over the weekend.
But it was the opening of the new Leshoboro Seeiso Stadium in Mafeteng that really caught my attention.
It got even better when the ambitious home side, Bantu, opened the stadium in style with a 3-0 win over Nyenye Rovers on Sunday.
Though I feel that sports suffered a lot during the tenure of ’Me ’Mathabiso Lepono as the sports minister under the government of Pakalitha Mosisili, it’s only fair that she and the then government are given credit for building such a lovely sporting facility in Mafeteng.
My little experience in this profession has taken me to a few African countries.
A few years ago I visited East African countries and was shocked to discover how much football has developed in countries like Kenya and Uganda.
The Ugandan and Kenyan leagues do not have fancy stadiums like the ones that hosted the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa recently, but they have played a significant role in the growth of sports and football in East Africa.
These countries have over the years secured big sponsorship deals including the one with SuperSport International that sees their premier league matches being televised every week.
Improved sporting facilities such as the new stadium in Mafeteng are what we also need to bring these big companies to our beloved Mountain Kingdom to see our own Vodacom premier league being televised across the African continent.
This can surely grow our football on and off the field.
That is why I feel it wouldn’t hurt to make a passionate plea to the coalition government especially the Prime Minister Tom Thabane and the Sports Minister Thesele ’Maseribane to do more to build and improve sporting facilities in this country.
The Leshoboro Seeiso Stadium may not be in the same class as those that our neighbours boast of but it is good enough to host any international match.
I therefore plead with Ntate Thabane and ’Maseribane to make building more stadiums like the one in Mafeteng their top priority because we badly need such sporting facilities.
It is only then that we can expect our teams at all levels of sports to do better in continental and international competitions.
This could also boost the chances of hosting regional sporting competitions like the Confederation of Southern African Football Associations Cup tournament and the SCASA games.
The new sports facility has football, netball and basketball playing pitches and can also be used for athletics.
Unemployment among the youths has been a big concern in our country over the years and, as proved in other countries, sport can also be used as a tool to fight poverty.
There is no doubt that once resources are available our youngsters can also make a living through sport.
If we really want to be considered a serious country as far as sport is concerned, then such sporting facilities like the one in Mafeteng is the way to go. The days of dusty potato fields should come to an end.