Local sport has failed to transform from amateur to professional mainly because of poor administration and leaders who overstay in office despite their glaring shortcomings.
I mean, three months ago, Lesotho could only manage three medals at the multisport All-Africa Games held in Congo when a country like South Africa bagged over 80 accolades. It’s true that Lesotho and South Africa are poles apart as far as resources are concerned but still this difference is just too much for a country that also goes to these games to compete and not simply make up the numbers.
Our national football team, Likuena, has been even worse, crashing out of three competitions within a space of six months. Likuena were knocked out of the Cosafa tournament in the group stage, failed to make the group stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and also missed out on qualification for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) set for Rwanda.
The team has also lost two 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers—against Ethiopia and Algeria—and it is highly unlikely that they will qualify for the continental competition to be held in Rwanda.
Well, this has become but normal as far as sport is concerned in this country, which is why I feel it would make sense that executive committee members are only in office for a maximum of two, two-year terms.
Limiting their stay in power would ensure new people with fresh ideas are brought in before the situation becomes a crisis.
We have associations whose committees have been led by the same faces for so long yet these people have nothing to show for it, apart from ruins.
I even feel the ongoing infighting between some of these fat-cats is largely because they hate each other as individuals and in the end, hurt any progress we could have made as a country.
Some of these senseless battles have even spilled into the courts of law, all in the name of retaining those fancy positions without considering the repercussions of such actions or if they are the right people for those posts, in the first place.
One such case involves Lesotho Boxing Association (LBA) president Takatso Ramakhula, who was recently kicked out of the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).
This is a man whose association has not been recognised by the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) since he came to power last year. The commission is not happy with the way Ramakhula and the rest of the LBA members came to power hence its refusal to recognise the executive.
And because of the feud, the LBA has not been getting its annual grant from the sports commission and in the end, the association has failed to host tournaments as well as send boxers for international competitions. The consequence for this failure is that our boxers cannot qualify for big tournaments such as the Olympics.
Yet the sad part about all this is boxing is the only sport that has always delivered when it comes to such high-profile competitions.
Moses Kopo won bronze at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, while Sephula Letuka was a bronze medalist at the 2002 edition of the competition held in England, and that’s it, as far as glory is concerned for Lesotho on the big stage.
The point I am trying to make is having the same people in administrative positions in our sport almost always comes at a cost because issues end up being personalised.
My suggestion is that a law should be passed that prohibits people from being in power for more than two terms.
Looking at most of these fat-cats running of our sport into the ground, one gets the feeling they also know of the disservice they are doing to this country but simply can’t go because of greed and selfishness.
We keep asking ourselves questions but don’t get any answers. Will Likuena ever play in the Africa Cup of Nations final tournament in our time? Will our country ever win a medal at the Olympic Games? These are some of the questions which every sports fan continues to ask but already knowing the disappointing answer.
I remember when Egypt failed to qualify for the Nations Cup a couple of years ago, not only did the coach resign because he had let his country down, the entire football federation also quit in shame.
I am praying and hoping the people we have in positions of authority in this country will have the same decency at some point and also resign for bringing such dishonor to our country.
You don’t need to wait for your term to end to know you have failed the country. If you and your committee cannot deliver, do the right thing and make way for fresh minds with better ideas on how to move this country forward.