The Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) has shunned the selection of team Lesotho of athletes to partake in the All African games later this month.
The LAAA says it is not happy with how the task team responsible for handling preparations for team Lesotho athletes ahead of the All Africa Games to be staged in three cities of Morocco; Rabat, Casablanca and El Jadida, scheduled for August 19th â€“ 31 Handled the teamâ€™s selection.
Speaking at a media briefing held at the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission board room on Wednesday, the LAAA Public Relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe, said the task team made its own decisions with their athletes, and that is one of the many challenges they have experienced in the recent weeks.
Maphathe said the LAAA was given a quota of ten athletes which were meant to be selected by the association, through what they have observed in their different competitions, including the national championships.
According to Maphathe, they were not given enough time to prepare and compile their list of medal promising athletes. He said the first time they were called to meet with the task team was on June 26, and because it came as a short notice, they sent some members of their association to attend.
â€œThat was the day they were requested to compile a preliminary list of athletes, and told to send it the following day before end of business. They did as requested, but because we did not have enough time, that list was inclusive of athletes who at the time did not meet the games qualifying standard,â€ said Maphathe.
He also mentioned that they met as the executive of LAAA and opted to change the list, based on their observation of athletes who did not meet the standard hence they called a meeting with the Chef De Mission (CDM) of team Lesotho, TÅ¡epang Mantutle who gave them the go ahead to put together a new list with proper athletes.
On July 16, they met with the task team where they were asked about their submission, making them aware that they had met with the CDM who gave them time to put together a team and submit at a later stage.
â€œThe very same week on Sunday 21st, we hosted a final competition in a form of half marathon for track athletes, then Monday we submitted our final listâ€ he said.
On their list they did not have the athletes from the half marathon
â€œWe decided not to include the half marathon athletes on the final list because we were not satisfied with their performance and preparation,â€ Maphathe said.
However, he says they were surprised to see the name of Jobo Khatoane on the final list of team Lesotho recently, yet the association did not submit his name on the final list.
On the other hand the LAAA President Makhaola Serake who was present at the media briefing said the other issue they are unhappy with, is the omission of the team manager for the athletics team from the submitted list. He says their officials consisted of Tseliso Peta as team manager, Coach Champlin Mpomane and his assistant Selloane TÅ¡oaeli.
â€œA remark was made about our team Manager, saying it will have to travel to the games without a team manager because every team was given a quota of two officials.
â€œThis is uncalled for, how does a team travel to such big games without a team manager from its association, someone who will be able to speak and get proper information for the athletes as well as compile a report,â€ said Serake.
He said when trying to voice out their concern on the omission, they were told to ask one of the Ministry of Sports representatives who will be travelling with the team to be their team manger.
Maphathe concluded by saying their superiors are failing them but expect their athletes to perform and to bring back medals.
â€œThere is nothing to hide, our team is not fully ready, and we seem not to be getting enough audience from our superiors as to our concerns and grievances,â€ said Maphathe.
In an exclusive interview with Newsday Sports, team Lesotho General Manager Bothobile Shebe said the task team has always been working with LAAA and always gave them an ear. She says they feel the association is trying to control things.
â€œThey want to be treated differently from the other associations, but that is not something to be allowed. Every team was given a time frame to submit their lists, and they kept changing theirs every now and then, yet there was a deadline which they were very much aware of,â€ said Shebe.
About the team manager being omitted from the list, she said all the teams have been given a quota of two officials and the LAAA submitted three names of officials.