LVA snub youth cham­pi­onship for All Africa Games

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

BANTU were given a rude awak­en­ing with their 3-0 thump­ing by South African premier­ship out­fit Bloem­fontein Celtic as they pre­pare for the 2015 Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball (CAF) Cham­pi­ons League com­pe­ti­tion which gets un­der­way in the sec­ond week of Fe­bru­ary.

No doubt the de­feat un­der­scored the need for A Matšo Mate­bele’s tech­ni­cal team and play­ers to put more ef­fort in the few weeks re­main­ing be­fore their first leg match against Gabonese side Man­gas­port.

While Bantu fans were un­der­stand­ably dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult, all hope is not lost and the team can still per­form well against Free State Stars on Sun­day.

The de­feat, how­ever, laid bare the glar­ing gulf which still ex­ists be­tween the lo­cal league and that of our neigh­bour.

There is still a long way to go be­fore lo­cal teams can com­pete with sides from more com­pet­i­tive and pro­fes­sional leagues.

This sad re­al­ity was more ap­par­ent when con­sid­er­ing the fact that the core of the Celtic side mostly con­sisted of play­ers from the team’s re­serve side play­ing in the Multi Choice Diski Chal­lenge.

Ad­mit­tedly, Bantu coach Mot­latsi Shale has not had the full com­ple­ment of the squad train­ing to­gether as some play­ers were tied up be­cause of work com­mit­ments.

The ab­sence of play­ers is an­other is­sue that should be ad­dressed in the re­main­ing weeks be­fore the con­ti­nen­tal fix­ture.

Star striker Tse­bang Le­bata’s in­jury is yet an­other headache for A Matšo Mate­bele who are al­ready wor­ry­ingly thin in the strik­ing depart­ment.

It is dis­con­cert­ing to note that the pow­ers that be at Bantu have failed to re­in­force the squad ahead of this im­por­tant com­pe­ti­tion.

Bantu have been far from con­vinc­ing since the 2014/15 sea­son started, and it was al­ready clear their squad needs a shake-up to keep some of the key play­ers on their toes.

The team’s man­age­ment should have gone all out to add qual­ity play­ers to their squad in the same man­ner they did a few years ago.

In their last ma­jor haul, Bantu brought in Thapelo Mokhehle, Dlomo Mon­aphathi and Lite­boho Mokhehle thereby mak­ing the side one of the best in the coun­try.

I thought they would fol­low the same route which brought the club suc­cess in a short pe­riod of time.

The team’s key play­ers also seem to lack the pas­sion and drive they showed in the last three sea­sons in which Bantu won the league ti­tle, for the first time in 87 years, as well as three back-to­back In­de­pen­dence Cup tro­phies.

Bantu’s ma­jor chal­lenge now is en­sur­ing the fit­ness of their play­ers, both men­tally and phys­i­cally, to en­sure they have the where­withal to play at the high­est level of club foot­ball on the con­ti­nent.

I wish A Matšo Mate­bele all the best be­cause the na­tion wants to see them do­ing well and mak­ing it past the pre­lim­i­nary round of the com­pe­ti­tion. THE Le­sotho Vol­ley­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (LVA) is set to snub the up­com­ing Vol­ley­ball African n Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship sched­uled for Egypt next month to fo­cus on the he All Africa Games qual­i­fiers.

LVA public re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Let­satsi Nt­si­bolane, told the Le­sotho Times their ir un­der-20 team will no longer take part in the con­ti­nen­tal qual­i­fiers in Egypt and will in­stead fo­cus only on the All Africa Games which will be held in Braz­zav­ille, Congo.

“Dur­ing our meet­ing on Satur­day, we de­cided it is bet­ter to fo­cus on the qual­i­fiers of the All of Africa Games, as we had a lot of rea­sons not to take part in the qual­i­fiers set for Cairo,” Nt­si­bolane said.

“We looked at our cal­en­dar dar of events and, be­cause there e will be a lot of ac­tiv­i­ties, had ad to pri­ori­tise based on our fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. We then chose the events that would suit us.”

He said they would deploy a se­nior team which would also fea­ture a num­ber of the un­der-20 play­ers dur­ing the qual­i­fiers for the All Africa Games.

“The All Africa Games are a big­ger com­pe­ti­tion ( than the ju­nior cham­pi­onship) and we will also have as­sis­tance from our gov­ern­ment since the team would not just be rep­re­sent­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion only, but the whole coun­try,” said Nt­si­bolane.

“The qual­i­fiers start some time in April and our coaches will se­lect the best play­ers to help us se­cure qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Braz­zav­ille games.”

Nt­si­bolane also said their do­mes­tic vol­ley­ball sea­son would kick-off in Fe­bru­ary, start­ing with play-offs to de­ter­mine the teams that will com­pete.

The Red­skins were the vol­ley­ball cham­pi­ons in both the male and fe­male leagues, and will have to be at their best to de­fend their ti­tles this year.

File Pic: Mat­lama vet­eran mid­fielder Pali Tša­long (right) tus­sles for the ball with Bantu de­fender Thapelo Mokhehle dur­ing VCL Pre­mier League clash at Set­soto Sta­dium.

LVA public re­la­tions of­fi­cer Let­satsi Nt­si­bolane

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