Team Le­sotho brings home the gold

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LE­SOTHO’S un­der-17 football team were crowned cham­pi­ons of this year’s edi­tion of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of School Sports As­so­ci­a­tions of South­ern Africa (Cos­sasa) Ball Games held in Bu­l­awayo Zim­babwe.

The games, which were held from last Thurs­day to Satur­day, fea­tured more than 800 con­tes­tants drawn from five coun­tries namely Le­sotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana and the host na­tion. Run­ning un­der the theme “Catch them young”, ath­letes com­peted in six sport­ing codes which were bas­ket­ball, football, net­ball, vol­ley­ball, ten­nis and sev­ens rugby.

The un­der-17 football team got their cam­paign un­der­way with a 1-0 win over Botswana be­fore de­feat­ing Namibia and Swaziland 1-0 and 3-0 re­spec­tively.

Their goal­less draw against Zim­babwe was enough to walk away with the win­ners’ gold medal, af­ter a round robin sys­tem saw the hosts fin­ish­ing as the run­ners-up.

In his re­marks, Le­sotho In­sti­tutes Schools As­so­ci­a­tion (LISA) Pres­i­dent, Caswell Moru, lauded the team for hav­ing done the na­tion proud. He said the bud­ding young tal­ent in the Moun­tain King­dom needed to be nur­tured to en­sure their pro­gres­sion.

“Through such tour­na­ments, we get to see the raw tal­ent. We se­lected the best side that we felt would do the coun­try proud, and they never dis­ap­pointed,” Moru said.

“I will be com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the Le­sotho Football As­so­ci­a­tion to en­sure there is con­ti­nu­ity as far as these boys’ fu­ture is con­cerned.”

He said the un­der-17 team had what it took to rise through the ranks and reach the high­est lev­els of their sport, adding that they only needed an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment to reach their full po­ten­tial.

“I think they can go places and I am al­ready com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the coaches of the ju­nior na­tional teams to make sure they are aware of how tal­ented these boys are,” said Moru.

“Un­for­tu­nately, one of the prob­lems within our struc­tures is that we do not have an un­der-15 team to help the de­vel­op­ment of young play­ers. They jump from the un­der-13 team to the un­der-17s which is not good.

“But with this group, they have gained the nec­es­sary ex­po­sure and ex­pe­ri­ence to grow with the ju­nior na­tional teams, and it’s very good for us as a coun­try.”

Only three play­ers in the team were al­ready play­ing for premier league teams. These are the Mat­lama duo of John Mohai and Rele­bo­hile Mabone and Khu­bet­soana Kamele from Linare.

The squad was se­lected dur­ing the re­cent COPA COCA COLA tour­na­ment won by Tšepo High School.

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