Grass­roots foot­ball ini­tia­tive launched

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

PRI­MARY school pupils, aged be­tween six and 12-years old, are set to en­rol in a com­pul­sory grass­roots foot­ball de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme start­ing next Jan­uary.

The pro­gramme, which is meant to nur­ture bud­ding tal­ent at a young age, was launched yes­ter­day at Bam­batha Tšita Sports Arena. Dur­ing the launch cer­e­mony, of­fi­cials from the Le­sotho Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (LEFA) Min­istry of Education and Train­ing as well as from the Min­istry of Gen­der and Youth, Sports and Recre­ation signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MOU) to guide the op­er­a­tion of the pro­gramme which is fully spon- sored by FIFA.

In his re­marks fol­low­ing the sign­ing cer­e­mony, LEFA First Vice-pres­i­dent, Khiba Mo­hoanyane, said the grass­roots foot­ball pro­gramme was meant to groom nascent tal­ent for the se­nior male and fe­male na­tional teams. He said the pro­gramme would cre­ate a pool of good play­ers from which na­tional team coaches could draw.

“The last time we saw our na­tional team reach­ing its high­est level in in­ter­na­tional foot­ball was dur­ing the 2000 COSAFA Cup in which Le­sotho even­tu­ally lost to Zim­babwe in the fi­nals,” said Mo­hoanyane, who also serves as Le­sotho Sports and Recre­ation Com­mis­sion vice-pres­i­dent.

“Since then, pos­i­tive re­sults have not been com­ing our way, and it is not some­thing we can ig­nore. This is why we are here to­day to sign this agree­ment.”

He said the MOU would guide the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­gramme, since the lack of clear de­vel­op­ment struc­tures had been cited as one the rea­sons lo­cal foot­ball re­mained in the dol­drums.

“Ever since the likes of Teele Ntšonyane, Mot­latsi Maseela and Tšepo Hlo­jeng hung their boots, poor per­for­mances have been the or­der of the day in lo­cal foot­ball. So, I be­lieve this pro­gramme will solve this peren­nial prob­lem be­cause de­vel­op­ment is key to suc­cess in ev­ery sport,” Mo­hoanyane said.

Min­istry of Education and Train­ing Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Phatsa Motšoane, said the min­istry’s man­date in­volved en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in sport start­ing from the first six years of their lives.

“We are very happy to sign this MOU which is an im­por­tant tool in de­vel­op­ing a sport­ing cul­ture,” said Motšoane.

He said the pro­gramme would be in­cluded in the cur­ricu­lum of pri­mary schools with teach­ers set to be equipped with the rel­e­vant skills to en­cour­age and men­tor their pupils.

“Sport is usu­ally a very ex­pen­sive en­deav­our, but this pro­gramme is an ex­cep­tion be­cause the chil­dren can play any­where. The pro­gramme is go­ing to be in­cluded in the pri­mary school cur­ricu­lum start­ing in Jan­uary 2016,” Motšoane said.

On her part, Min­istry of Gen­der and Youth, Sports and Recre­ation In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer, Ma­bataung Kha­lane, said the foot­ball grass­roots de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme would help the min­istry achieve one of its pri­mary ob­jec­tives by en­sur­ing that ev­ery child is given an op­por­tu­nity to play from the early age.

“This pro­gramme does not even re­quire ex­pen­sive equip­ment or fa­cil­i­ties, so I think it will achieve a great deal by en­sur­ing that ev­ery child is given an op­por­tu­nity to play from a young age,” Kha­lane said.

THE of­fi­cials sign an MOU to guide the op­er­a­tions of the pro­gramme.

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