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Associations resume preparations for AUSC

Business

Chris Theko

A host of the national sports federations have resumed with their preparations for the upcoming African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 games.  

Initially the games were scheduled to take place in December of 2020 but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are now to be held in Maseru from 3-12 December 2021.

The preparation by different sporting associations were halted in January 2021 when the country went into total lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 second wave but resumed momentarily in March only to be halted again a month later due to the Covid-19 third wave.

The resumption follows the Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s announcement that sporting activities could now resume. 

Boxers convened at the Makoanyane Barracks where they started their training, volleyball and judo athletes are training at the Police Training College (PTC) while the netball team is training at the Makoanyane Barracks. 

Sports federations had already selected their teams when the sports activities were suspended earlier this year, however, preparations were delayed due to the unavailability of funds.

The Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) had been hosting camps for the boys’ under-17 and the girls’ under-20 teams to represent the country during the games. 

On the other hand, The Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) spokesperson Nkuebe Makhalemele said that their athletes are yet to start with preparations due to late communication on age changes by the Local organizing Committee (LOC)

“We hosted the national championships where we selected the under-20 athletes in June this year but were told later that the age restrictions have changed,” Makhalemele said. 

The new age restrictions communicated by the AUSC games committee to the LOC in August said that only athletes under 18 would be legible to compete. 

Makhalemele said that communication only reached their office after they had put together the 85 athletes whom the minority was just under 20.

“We have 84 athletes that we had already sourced throughout the country and our hope was that by now we would be halfway through our preparations in a form of camps to fine tune them in time for the games,” he said.

“Right now there is going to be another championship which will be meant to select the right age and hopefully that process goes smoothly this time”.

Makhalemele expressed his frustrations on how the people in charge are not taking the AUSC games seriously.

“The people who are at the fore-front of organizing the games are not being proactive to show leadership and the fact that we are the host country and should prepare well ahead,” he said.

On the other hand, the head of mission, Casswell Moru, a week ago had said they were still waiting for funds from the ministry. 

Lesotho will be hosting athletes from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, eSwatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Amongst the sports codes to be competed in is basketball, boxing, gymnastics, netball, football, judo, tennis, swimming, taekwondo and volleyball.         

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