Methodist rule bas­ket­ball com­pe­ti­tion

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati Mikia Kalati

Amer­ica-based at­tack­ing mid­fielder, Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho, is ex­pected to ar­rive in Le­sotho to­day to join the na­tional team pre­par­ing for the 2015 Coun­cil of South­ern Africa Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) tour­na­ment to be held in South Africa from 17-30 May.

How­ever, Tšotleho — who plays for Wilm­ing­ton Ham­mer­heads in North Caro­line — is un­likely to fea­ture in to­day’s in­ter­na­tional friendly match against South Africa’s Bafana, but could play Satur­day’s tie against the same op­po­nents.

Ham­mer­heads is a pro­fes­sional soc­cer team based in Wilm­ing­ton and was founded in 1996.

The team plays in the Eastern Con­fer­ence of the United Soc­cer League — the third tier of Amer­ica’s soc­cer pyra­mid.

Ac­cord­ing to Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Lefa) gen­eral sec­re­tary, Mokhosi Mo­hapi, the 23-yearold pow­er­ful for­ward would only ar­rive to­day be­cause his team was not will­ing to re­lease him for the Cosafa tour­na­ment.

The re­gional tour­na­ment is not part of the Fifa cal­en­dar hence teams are not obliged to re­lease play­ers for the event.

“We are ex­pect­ing Jane later this week as he is among 20 play­ers Lefa reg­is­tered for the Cosafa com­pe­ti­tion,” Mo­hapi said on Mon­day.

“He is one of the key play­ers for his Amer­i­can team and his coaches wanted him to play two im­por­tant games be­fore he left for Le­sotho.”

Mokhosi said hav­ing the player for the re­gional Cosafa com­pe­ti­tion would help him gel with his team­mates ahead of the more se­ri­ous 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions and 2015 African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers, which get un­der­way next month.

In the Cosafa tour­na­ment, Le­sotho are in Group B along­side Tan­za­nia, Mada­gas­car and Swazi­land, with the over­all win­ner ad­vanc­ing to the quar­ter­fi­nal of the re­gional cham­pi­onship most na­tions use as groom­ing ground for big­ger tour­na­ments such as Af­con and the World Cup.

Speak­ing with the Le­sotho Times from his base in the United States (US), Tšotleho said he was look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try once again fol­low­ing his Likuena de­but in the 2-0 Af­con home win against Liberia last year.

“It was a bit dif­fi­cult for the team to re­lease me this time around, but they did in the end, but I have to play Wed­nes­day’s match (yes­ter­day) against Louisville City,” Tšotleho said.

“I have al­ways wanted to play in the Cosafa com­pe­ti­tion and I’m over the moon that my wish will fi­nally come true.

“I have been play­ing well since com­ing back from in­jury about a month ago.

“My goal now is to take that form to the na­tional team and do well for my coun­try.”

Tšotleho fur­ther said he be­lieved com­pe­ti­tions such as the Cosafa cham­pi­onship and Af­con help play­ers get recog­ni­tion by in­ter­na­tional scouts.

“My vi­sion is to play in bet­ter leagues any­where in Europe and I METHODIST High School were the big win­ners dur­ing last week­end’s bas­ket­ball com­pe­ti­tion held at Le­hakoe Recre­ational Cen­tre in Maseru.

The Khu­bet­soana-based school won both the male and fe­male cat­e­gories of the com­pe­ti­tion, out­slug­ging Sa­cred Heart and St Boni­face in the fi­nal, re­spec­tively.

Le­sotho Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion public re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Ratšolo Molupe, praised Methodist for their out­stand­ing per­for­mance, while also ac­knowl­edg­ing the pres­ence of all the teams which made the tour­na­ment such a re­sound­ing suc­cess.

“We are happy with how things went dur­ing the two-day com­pe­ti­tion,” Molupe said on Tues­day.

“At the end, Methodist High stole the show and won both the male and fe­male cat­e­gories of the event. This com­pe­ti­tion is very cru­cial for the devel­op­ment of the sport and also scout­ing for tal­ent from the schools.”

Molupe fur­ther said bas­ket­ball au­thor­i­ties were happy with how the sport was de­vel­op­ing in Le­sotho.

“I be­lieve the play­ers iden­ti­fied as spe­cial tal­ent in this com­pe­ti­tion will help our ju­nior na­tional team coaches in their se­lec­tions for dif­fer­ent as­sign­ments. There was a lot of tal­ent on dis­play dur­ing the two days the com­pe­ti­tion was held at Le­hakoe.

“The fu­ture looks bright for our bas­ket­ball and we are al­ways happy to reach out to the youth by host­ing tour­na­ments that im­prove the level of com­pe­ti­tion among them.

“devel­op­ment is the foun­da­tion of ev­ery sport and it feels good that we gave the youth the plat­form to im­prove their skills us­ing first-class fa­cil­i­ties at Le­hakoe Club,” Molupe said.

be­lieve that be­ing a regular in the na­tional team would go a long way in help­ing me ful­fil that dream.

“The more one plays for the na­tional team, the bet­ter chance he has of be­ing no­ticed by in­ter­na­tional scouts, which is why I am happy to be part of Likuena’s up­com­ing cam­paigns,” said Tšotleho.

Tšotleho left the coun­try for the US as a 13-year-old af­ter for­mer Likuena goal­keeper, Tha­bane Sutu, rec­om­mended him to Amer­i­can soc­cer academies.

Likuena mid­fielder Jane ‘Sunny’ Tšotleho (right) in Mary­land colours, will likely play on Satur­day against Bafana.

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