Sundawana boss in title talk
SOME of the world’s top bikers will be in town today as the 2015 edition of the Roof of Africa gets underway at Maseru Club.
Dubbed the world’s toughest off-road motorcycle races due to its route through Lesotho’s rugged terrain, the Roof begins with bikers racing around the city’s suburbs before roaring into the countryside for four days of tough riding.
According to Lesotho Off-road Association public relations officer, Keketso Malebo, some of the riders arrived in the country as early as Monday ahead of yesterday’s registration and media interviews.
Malebo said 400 riders had initially registered for the race but some had pulled out due to injuries. He could immediately say how many riders would be taking part.
“Everything is in place for the race and as usual, we expect a very competitive battle especially between previous winners of this event,” Malebo said.
Defending champion Wade Young of South Africa, and former winner Jarvis Graham, are among the big-name riders headlining this year’s event.
Young, now aged 19, made history when he became the youngest rider to win the race when he was only 16 in 2012.
Meanwhile, Lesotho will have their highest-ever number of riders in the race.
Last year, Molamu Morojele, Basia Maseatile, and Joseph Motenane represented the country in the Roof, but they are joined by ‘Muso Mohlahatse and Victor Matekane this time around.
“It is very encouraging to see our representation growing and that is why I want people to come and see the riders perform especially when the race starts at Maseru Club,” said Malebo.
“This is where riders create such a spectacle and display their talents.
“I believe this is something worth seeing, especially for the youngsters, so I call on them to come in big numbers to see what professionals do with a bike.”
The winner of the main race takes home M180 000. Sundawana Football Club owner, Thato nkone ( pictured), believes his team can win the premier league title this season.
The Butha-buthe outfit are third on the 14-team premiership table and Nkone is confident the team has the quality to go all the way and clinch their maiden topflight league title.
Sundawana are on a six-match winning streak and last weekend, beat powerhouse Bantu 1-0 in Mafeteng to underline their strength.
After Saturday’s stunning win, Sundawana moved into third place on the table and have the same 21 points with defending champions Lioli.
However, Lioli have only played 10 matches while Sundawana are on 12. Pacesetters Matlama have played 10 matches and are on 23 points, while fourth-placed Likhopo have played 10 matches and are on 18 points. LCS also have 18 points from 10 matches, making it a tight contest in the top half of the table.
And according to Nkone, he is confident his team has the class to win the league championship this season, and is prepared to do whatever is necessary for this to happen.
“We are very delighted with the performance of the team and I believe they are genuine contenders for the league title,” Nkone told the Lesotho Times.
“Our goal now is to win every match and I will do all it takes to support my team.”
Nkone, who surprised many when he purchased the premiership franchise of Mpharane Celtic last season, renamed the team Sundawana and moved its base to Butha-buthe, says he has great ambitions for his side.
“I want to make this team a force to reckon with not just here in Lesotho but also internationally,” said Nkone.
“I will buy the best available talent in this country and outside because the plan is to make this team the best in Lesotho.
“The ambition is to win the league title, play in African competitions and become a big team on the continent.”
However, Nkone also paid tribute to headcoach Bob Mafoso.
“The coach has turned things around since he took over in August,” Nkone said.
“The players have also done their part and I’m very proud of their achievements so far.
“I will splash the cash if there is need to reinforce the squad in January because like I said, we want to be the best team in Lesotho.”
On his part, Mafoso attributed teamwork to the good performances, as well as good fortune.
“I think it is a combination of different things — the players are motivated and luck has also been on our side,” Mofoso said.
“without putting pressure on ourselves, we need to enjoy this good run. We will keep working hard to see where it gets us and take it from there.”
Mafoso also said what makes his job easier is the players’ willingness to learn.
Sundawana have also benefitted from the excellent form of former Likhopo midfielder, Majalefa Tšoeu, and striker Raboena Koloti. Koloti scored his seventh league goal of the season in the win over Bantu to move into second place on the scoring charts — one strike behind Likhopo’s Lehlomela
Wade Young on his way to victory in 2012.
Pics by Elza Thiart