The Director of Sports in the Ministry of Gender and Youth Sports and Recreation (MGYSR), Puisano TÅ¡osane shocked the sports community when she remarked that the ministry is under no obligation whatsoever to give any money to sporting associations leading the different sports codes.
Speaking on the behalf of the ministry at the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Maseru, TÅ¡osane said the ministry does not have to fund sporting activities by the associations.
â€œThere has never been a time that the ministry (MGYSR) ever made a commitment to give sports federations and associations money, this is because all the federations have to make their own means to raise funds for their activities,â€ TÅ¡osane said.
The Sports Directorâ€™s statement sent shockwaves throughout the auditorium that was packed with sports administrators from the different sporting associations and federations in attendance of the AGM.
Most sporting codes in the country are at semi-professional status where the government is still expected to make a significant contribution towards their upkeep with subventions to cover operational costs.
Commenting on the Directorâ€™s remarks in an interview with Newsday Sports, Treasurer of the LSRC, TÅ¡eliso Pheta, expressed his disappointment over the remarks he labeled dangerous and damaging to sports in the country.
Pheta who is also the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) President said they were shocked to hear such comments from someone in TÅ¡osaneâ€™s position in the ministry intended to manage sports on behalf of government.
â€œIt is very shocking and dangerous when an entire Director of Sports makes such statements in a room full of sports administrators in the country whose only desire is to help grow sports,â€ Pheta said, adding that it is not surprising that TÅ¡osane makes such utterances because she simply has no interest in advancing sports as evidenced by her lack of passion to improve sports â€œâ€¦because how long has she been occupying that position yetâ€¦sports has deteriorated?â€.
TÅ¡osane has been the Director of Sports at the MGYSR for close to 20 years. During this period, she has constantly been in opposition of the developments of sports in the country, Pheta said, with majority of the facilities developed before her losing shape.
The Leshoboro Sports complex in Mafeteng, the Rapokolana High Altitude training facility and the Setsoto stadium are some of the facilities which were meant to develop and sustain sports growth in the country but which under her directorship have come to naught.
Pheta said the Director is not aware that the ministry is there to support sports in the country in order to help government alleviate poverty and create employment.
â€œSports is one of the most paying and employing industries in the world which means government should be investing more in it to help reduce the high level of unemployment because that is one of its mandates,â€ said Pheta.
Echoing similar sentiments, Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) Secretary-General, Mokhosi Mohapi said the remarks by TÅ¡osane show the disconnection she has with realities in the sporting world.
â€œHer remarks simply reflect how the ministry does not care about sports, youth and economic growth because sports can help with unemployment. For someone of her position, who is paid by the tax payerâ€™s money to say such during a time when sports is in dire need of funding is simply a shame,â€ Mohapi said.
In latter times, LeFA as the soccer administering association has been constantly making requests for financial assistance from government in order to finance Likuenaâ€™s participation in international competitions none of which has been forthcoming forcing LeFA to foot such expenses. This is regardless of the fact that some of the costs such as the national team having to host its home games because of Setsoto stadiumâ€™s incapacity to host international games are a government responsibility.