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Likatola victorious


Chris Theko

The Lesotho Rugby Sevens team won the Rugby Africa Regional Sevens South Tournament, held at the newly built Bocheletsane stadium at Mants’onyane, Thaba Tseka on weekend.

The tournament was hosted by the Lesotho by the Federation of Lesotho Rugby this past Saturday and Sunday, after the rights of hosting were awarded to them, when the eventual hosts, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was stripped off the rights (hosting rights) due to the Ebola outbreak in that country. 

Five teams were initially billed to take part in the tournament, and these included Lesotho, Mozambique, Burundi and Brazzaville Congo. The fifth team DRC, who were the initial hosts, were suspended from the competition after an Ebola outbreak in that country.

They were replaced by Eswatini on the list of participants.  Brazzaville however, pulled out in the last minutes due to travel arrangements. 

In the opening game, Lesotho defeated Mozambique 21-5 then saw off Eswatini in the next match 31-0. Mozambique then faced off against Esawtini in the last match on Saturday.  On Sunday Lesotho continued with their fine performance in front of the packed crowd, defeating Eswatini 24-19 in the first match, then Mozambique defeating Eswatini with a 27-14 score margin to set up a final with the hosts.  It was a free flow for ‘Likatola’ as they saw off Mozambique 29-5 in the high paced final. 

Lesotho won all its games convincingly and the head coach Morapeli Motaung, was very impressed with the performance of his players saying they played like a host team.

“I am quite happy with the performance of my players, they played exactly how I told them to, and that made me proud.  I have been working with the same team since the formation of the sevens team, and this shows the importance of development,” said Motaung. 

Most of the players in the current Lesotho squad were part of the team that came second to Congo Brazzaville in the same tournament In September last year. According to coach, there is a lot of improvement in the team individually and collectively. 

Coach Morapeli Motaung became the first coach to win this rugby tournament in Lesotho since the birth of the sport in the country.  

The win means that Lesotho has improved its ranking in the Rugby Africa standings and is now looking forward to playing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers. 

The team is already in Zambia where they were already scheduled to take place in the Zambia Sevens International Tournament 2019, to take place from 6th to 7th September.  They will be up against nine teams, the hosts, Zambia Sevens, Blue Bulls, Zimbabwe Sevens, Namibia Sevens, Bobbies, Shermamators, Spartans Rugby, Malawi Sevens and Botswana.

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