Re­gional schools tour­na­ment kicks off

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

COACH Bobby Mapheko says his charges are in a bet­ter po­si­tion to win more medals dur­ing the 2015 Con­fed­er­a­tion of Schools Sports as­so­ci­a­tion of South­ern african (Cos­sasa) Games which get un­der­way at le­sotho High School and Set­soto Sta­dium.

le­sotho won eight medals—three gold, three sil­ver and two bronze—in last year’s edi­tion of the tour­na­ment held in Botswana, and Mapheko is tar­get­ing at least 20 ac­co­lades now that the event is be­ing held at home.

Namibia and Zim­babwe are be­ing rep­re­sented in the event, sched­uled to end on Satur­day. Botswana, South africa, Swazi­land and Zam­bia pulled out of the tour­na­ment for var­i­ous rea­sons.

“i think we stand a good chance of col­lect­ing more medals this year be­cause we are the hosts, and started our camp on Mon­day. tech­ni­cally, that is not enough time to pre­pare but com­pared to our past prepa­ra­tions, this is far much bet­ter,” Mapheko said on Tues­day.

“last year, i only met the team when we were leav­ing for Botswana. our 200-me­tre rep­re­sen­ta­tive, for in­stance, just got off the bus and took part in the race with­out even warm­ing-up be­cause we had ar­rived late in Botswana. How­ever, the boy still went on to win a gold medal in that race.

“if we could win eight medals un­der such con­di­tions, imag­ine what is go­ing to hap­pen now that we are at home and have had time to be to­gether for some time as a team. i hope we are go­ing to give this na­tion some­thing to smile about when th­ese track-and-field events are over on Satur­day.”

Mapheko also said he was look­ing at build­ing fu­ture cham­pi­ons through th­ese games.

“there is con­ti­nu­ity in this team be­cause one of my aims is to build for the fu­ture. i have about 22 ath­letes in this team, who par­tic­i­pated in last year’s com­pe­ti­tion, and this shows that we have po­ten­tial in this coun­try and if we groom th­ese young­sters ac­cord­ingly, they will be cham­pi­ons this coun­try is go­ing to be proud of in fu­ture.”

How­ever, Mapheko lamented lack of re­sources which he said was pre­vent­ing lo­cal ath­letes from re­al­is­ing their full po­ten­tial.

“Some of th­ese kids train bare­foot but would be wear­ing spikes dur­ing the tour­na­ment. this change will af­fect their per­for­mance be­cause they would not be used to the footwear. this lack of re­sources is a real prob­lem, hence our ath­letes will not re­alise their full po­ten­tial,” he said.

Mean­while, the tour­na­ment’s or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee public re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Teboho Pholo, said four na­tions had pulled out of the event for var­i­ous rea­sons.

“a to­tal of seven coun­tries were sup­posed to be part of this event, but Botswana, South africa, Swazi­land and Zam­bia have pulled out of the com­pe­ti­tion for var­i­ous rea­sons,” Pholo said.

Some of team Le­sotho mem­bers for cos­sasa games dur­ing their train­ing ses­sion at Set­soto Sta­dium on Tues­day.

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