The Confederation of Cycling Africa (CAC) has selected Lesotho’s young cycling sensation, Kabelo Makatile into Team Africa to participate in the World Championships scheduled for France next month.
The 20-year-old is among eight top-performing riders that CAC has assembled from African countries to represent the continent in the global tournament.
Makatile made the cut following his battling performance in the recent African Continental Championships (ACA) in Accra Ghana which ran from February 8-13.
He will link up with the rest of the team at the Tour De Cape Town on March 2, before flying to Switzerland for a week for preparing for France along with his new teammates.
In an exclusive interview with Newsday Sports, the Cycling Federation of Lesotho (CFL) spokesperson Malefane Morie, said Makatile was selected based on his good performance in the ACA as he impressed the CAC committee with his passion and dedication.
â€œMakatile represented Team Lesotho alone in Ghana unlike other countries which had teams, so his energy was impressive as he played all the roles of the whole team alone,â€ Morie said.
â€œEven though he did not come out as the winner of the competitions but he was amongst the top cyclists of the competition and that gave him a pass into Team Africa,â€ he added.
Makatile represented Lesotho in Ghana after Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) announced it had cut the number of athletes going to the games to one due to financial challenges.
Lesotho had initially planned to send only two cyclists to the games, but TÅ¡episo Lerata, who had already qualified for Ghana, had to abandon her trip, as LNOC could only afford to finance only Makatile and his coach, Malefane Morie to the games
â€œThis was not an easy decision but it had to be made especially now that the Confederation of Cycling Championships in Ghana are about to start, so we have failed to get the funds,â€ LNOC CEO, Morake Raleaka said at the time.
He said they have been struggling with funding for some time and had to compromise to go with a two-man delegation to Ghana.
â€œIt has been over two years now without the funds from the government of Lesotho, so we have been surviving on donations and other means hence we are unable to take our athletes to international competitions,â€ Raleaka added.