THE Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FRL) has commended the support of the government and Basotho at large for the successful hosting of the Maseru International Sevens tournament at Setsoto Stadium this past weekend.
The two-day event featured eight teams, including the national team Likatola, Lesotho Invitational team, South Africa All Star, Maseru Select, Namibia, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe was eventually crowned winners of the tournament after defeating Zambia 40-7 in the final.
FRL Secretary-General Litšitso Motšeremeli said the support of all stakeholders was integral to the successful hosting of Lesotho’s first ever international rugby tournament.
“We feel very lucky and honoured, as the Federation of Lesotho Rugby, with the support we received in hosting our first international tournament,” Motšeremeli said.
“It was only after the tournament had ended that we realised we had done a wonderful job which was not easy at all.
“Some people were sceptical about our ability to host the tournament and we are happy with the success.”
He said some of the notable assistance came from the government and Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
“LSRC has been with us from the planning of this tournament and holding our hand throughout the process. We cannot forget the support of our ministers (Sports Minister Kabelo Mafura and his deputy Rethabile Marumo) who have been with us starting from the gala dinner held last month.
“Deputy Prime Minister (Monyane Moleleki) has been very supportive and it was a blessing to have him at the stadium during the tournament along with our Sports minister and his deputy.
Motšeremeli said the successful staging of the Maseru International Sevens tournament had given impetus to the hosting of the Tri Nations tournament that will feature Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland.
He also indicated that the live broadcasting of the tournament by Kwesé TV had earned FRL praise from Rugby Africa and World Rugby bodies.
Meanwhile, Likatola coach Moleleki Moleleki has said Lesotho was not too far behind its competitors after managing to get to the tournament’s semi-final stage where Likatola lost 19-0 to eventual winners Zimbabwe.
“I have seen a lot of improvement in our performance and beating a country like Mauritius was a sign that we are on the right track,” he said.
“Even against the eventual winners, Zimbabwe, the difference was not that vast which shows that very soon we will close the gap. It is motivating for our players going forward.”