Youth team misses An­gola flight

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

TEAM Le­sotho’s hopes of do­ing well at the Africa Union Sports Coun­cil Zone Five Youth Games were dealt a heavy blow af­ter they missed their flight to An­gola on Mon­day.

Mem­bers of the 71-strong team only man­aged to fly to An­gola on Tues­day and yes­ter­day for the games that gets un­der­way this Satur­day and end­ing on the 16th of this month.

The team left Maseru by bus on Mon­day evening and were sup­posed to fly to An­gola on Tues­day morn­ing, but ar­rived late at OR Tambo Air­port in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa and missed their flight to the Lu­so­phone coun­try.

This was af­ter the team was ini­tially de­nied en­try into South Africa by the im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers as some of the ath­letes were be­low the age of 18 and needed their par­ents’ con­sent to gain en­try into South Africa.

Le­sotho Sports and Recre­ation Com­mis­sion (LSRC) pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Re­filoe Maphalela said they were not aware of new ar­range­ments at the border which re­quired a let­ter signed by the sports min­is­ter and the LSRC pres­i­dent in or­der for the ath­letes to be al­lowed en­try.

“In­deed, our team ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems in gain­ing en­try into South Africa,” Maphalela told the Le­sotho Times in an in­ter­view.

“The im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers de­manded a let­ter signed by our sports min­is­ter and the LSRC pres­i­dent in or­der for the team to get en­try into South Africa while the usual re­quire­ment has been just an in­vi­ta­tion let­ter from the or­gan­is­ers of the sport­ing event.

“This caused a big prob­lem and a de­lay to our trav­el­ling ar­range­ments as it was al­ready mid­night.

“It was only then that man­agers of the trav­el­ling del­e­ga­tion wrote the let­ters and had them signed by the LSRC pres­i­dent and Sports min­is­ter.”

Maphalela said two teams had since left for An­gola with the first batch of ath­letes hav­ing flown late on Tues­day and the rest yes­ter­day morn­ing.

He also ad­mit­ted that the 71-mem­ber team left with­out com­pe­ti­tion at­tire. He how­ever pro­fessed ig­no­rance over claims that the de­lay was caused by the fact the at­tire was bought from a shop in Italy in a deal that would ben­e­fit a Sports min­istry em­ployee.

He said the de­lay was caused by the late re­lease of funds from the min­istry of sports.

“Also, none of the lo­cal sup­pli­ers were in po­si­tion to pro­vide us with the at­tire as soon as we needed it so we had to weigh op­tions and get peo­ple who could de­liver quickly.

“But I do not know about those re­ports that the at­tire was bought in Italy to ben­e­fit an em­ployee at the min­istry of sports.

“The only thing we know is that she rec­om­mended those sup­pli­ers in Italy be­cause she works with a num­ber of them in the ac­qui­si­tion of sport­ing at­tire,” Maphalela said, adding the claims were just ru­mours.

SOME mem­bers of the 71-strong Team Le­sotho to the AUSC games.

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