Match postponements a disgrace!

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Mikia Kalati

THE poor administration of the sporting sector came into sharp focus over the weekend with the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) and the Lesotho national Olympic Committee (LNOC) making waves for the wrong reasons.

LeFA was brought into the spotlight by the postponement of a premier league match between Sandawana and LMPS to 4 October 2017 because of the disruption caused by a wedding ceremony on Saturday.

The Sandawana and LMPS match had initially been slated for Maputsoe DIFA Ground on Sunday, but the wedding had caused the postponement of two A division ties that had been scheduled for Saturday.

The two A division matches were then postponed to Sunday, thereby clashing with a premier league double header featuring Bantu vs Linare and Sandawana vs LMPS.

The premier league authorities eventually settled on the continuation of the Bantu vs Linare match while postponing the Sandawana vs LMPS tie.

For me, it is nothing short of a disgrace for a premier league match to be cancelled because of a wedding ceremony at a facility funded by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) to foster the development of the beautiful game in this country.

The Maputsoe DIFA ground and the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena were funded by the world football governing body through the FIFA Goal Project.

Certainly, LeFA should have intervened, as the football governing body and the very same people who applied for funding from FIFA for building the stadium.

Access to Setsoto stadium is already a tough proposition for local clubs, since they have to fork out M7 000 for a single match at the national stadium.

Unfortunately, the clubs also have to compete with organisers of music festivals and church conferences who usually can afford to pay more money.

While it is understandable for LeFA to encourage the District Football Association (DIFA) of Leribe to hire out the facility to generate funds, it should not affect the core purpose of hosting premier league and A division matches.

Hopefully, the powers that be won’t allow it to happen again.

Such a situation brings the game into disrepute and can even destroy local football’s relationship with the corporate sector.

I also make a plea to Youth, Sports, Gender and Recreation Minister, Kabelo Mafura, to ensure that Setsoto Stadium plays its primary role of fostering the development of sport in the country.

A balance needs to be struck between the need to make use of the national stadium to generate income for the ministry and developing the sporting sector with manageable fees.

As for the LNOC, a warning I had made oftentimes has been proved right that sending triple jump athlete, Lerato Sechele, to a training camp in Senegal was a wrong choice.

Sechele is back in the country and has spoken out about the ordeal she went through during her stay in the West African country after being awarded an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship in 2014.

Why such a promising talent was sent to a country that is not renowned for excellence in athletics boggles the mind.

Sechele said she actually regressed since moving to the Dakar Training centre where she was the only triple jump athlete. She also struggled to adjust to the food that was available.

Unfortunately, administrators in our country tend to make such unforced errors without any consequences.

Like I have said before, the LNOC under the leadership of Matlohang Moiloa-Ramoqopo has lost direction, hence our perennial failure to compete at major competitions such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.

However, there were some positive stories elsewhere in the sports fraternity. For instance, the Federation of Rugby Lesotho successfully hosted a two-day Sevens tournament at Setsoto Stadium.

It was the first of its kind in the Mountain Kingdom and we encourage such positive developments.

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