THE Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) will push for the completion of the soccer season despite the new lockdown “to avoid chaos”.
PLMC spokesperson Qamako Mahao said this in an interview with the Sunday Express this weekend.
His statement comes in the wake of the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA’s) decision to suspend all football activities on Thursday. The move came after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s announcement that all contact sports have been suspended indefinitely.
Immediately after Majoro’s announcement, LeFA also released a statement announcing the suspension of all its activities.
“Today, Thursday 22 July 2021, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro effected restrictions aimed at reducing the rising coronavirus infections experienced in the country in the past few days,” the LeFA statement said.
“The LeFA national executive committee, pursuant to its support to the government’s efforts in fighting Covid-19 to save, has resolved to indefinitely suspend all competitions under until further information is released upon the advice of the government. Your clubs should suspend all group training until further notice.”
Matlama are currently leading the 16-team log table with 38 points from 16 matches while Bantu are second with 37 points from 15 matches.
“We have been ready because we were also aware of the high infection figures. We were actually going to apply for the suspension of the league to LeFA as we have above five percent infections in our teams,” Mahao said.
LeFA had ordered that each team test its players last week and Mahao said the infection rate was high in the nine clubs that have submitted their reports.
He however, said they were adamant that the league would be played to completion full to avoid the confusion that obtained last year. Last year, Bantu were declared winners before the end of the season’s games. The decision did not sit well with Matlama who went on to protest.
“It’s better that we complete at a later stage. We will be happy if all games are played. We don’t want a repeat of last year’s situation.”
When the league was ended last season, Bantu were topping the table with 50 points while second-placed Matlama were trailing by 16 points. Both sides had played 18 matches.
Mahao said they will be monitoring the situation and will make recommendations later.
“For now, we will just keep on monitoring the situation as the activities are suspended. We will make our recommendations at a later stage to the LeFA national executive committee,” Mahao said.
SWITZERLAND-based mountain bike (MTB) rider, Tumelo Makae, has displayed a promising performance after finishing in the top 20 of the 2021 Transmaurienne International MTB competition.
The race was held in France from Monday to Friday.
The overall final standings saw Makae finishing 17th out of 121 riders from various countries. Makae’s overall time was 14:27:27.
In his first race on Monday, he finished 27th before coming 28th the next day. On Wednesday and Thursday, he finished 12th and 21st respectively. He concluded the race on a high note on Friday coming 11th.
Speaking to the Sunday Express from France this weekend, Makae said he was happy with his performance although there is still room for improvement.
“I was at my best from the first day and I kept on improving therefore, I am proud of the performance,” Makae said.
“Despite the good performance, I think there is still room for improvement considering that the stage races are not my main races. I am just participating in them because there are no cross-country races at the moment.”
Makae was fresh from a dismal performance in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz UCI MTB World Cup in France a fortnight ago were he failed to the race. Makae was pulled out under the MTB competitions 80 percent rule which says any rider whose time is 80 percent slower than that of the leader’s first lap is withdrawn.
He only completed three of the seven laps and came 93rd out of 102 in the final standings.
Makae debuted the World Cup in France in 2018. In 2019, he competed in the World Cup in Switzerland and France while last year he also contested in Germany and Czech Republic.
In all the previous appearances, the biker struggled only to improve this year.
Makae was one of the local athletes who were vying for their first Olympics qualification but failed because of Lesotho’s low UCI MTB rankings.
He has been in Switzerland under a Lesotho Tokyo 2020 Olympic Athletes Solidarity scholarship since 2017.
THE winner of the open section in the 2021 Zone 4.5 Individual Chess Championship will walk away with US$1500 (about M22 090), the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) has said.
The event will run from 5 to 13 November at Scenery Guest House in Maseru.
Lesotho is hosting the event for the first time with the assistance of the African Chess Confederation (ACC).
In the invitation letters sent to all ACC member countries, the CFL said the event would have an open section and a women’s section.
The second and third placed players will pocket US$1000 and US$750 respectively.
The winner in the women’s section will pocket US$1000 while the second placed player will take home US$750.
Apart from monetary prize, open section winner will also be awarded the International Master (IM) chess title while the women’s section winner will get a Women International Master (WIM) title.
Lesotho was meant to have hosted the tournament between March and April last year but it was postponed on the back of Covid-19 pandemic.
CFL secretary general Tlhoriso Morienyane told the Sunday Express that they have already sent invitations letters to all member countries. He said they are expecting between 40 to 100 players.
The tournament will be partly sponsored by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) through ACC.
“We have already sent invitations to the Zone 4.5 members and we are looking forward to hosting up 100 players,” Morienyane said.
“The event will be partly sponsored by FIDE through ACC but we are also hoping to secure more sponsor. The government is also expected to weigh in.”
The local organising committee is already hard at work to ensure the success of the event.
“This is a huge opportunity for our players. It is going to give them a chance to play at a higher international level. It will also put Lesotho chess in the limelight and this will result in our players getting exposure and confidence.”
Each federation will be allowed to register a maximum of five players for each category but the host country can register up to seven players and another reserve player. The ACC president also has a right to nominate other additional players.
Other Zone 4.5 member countries are Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In preparation for the tournament, Lesotho has already started hosting qualifying events. The first qualifying event for local players through the King’s Birthday Open Chess Tournament held last week.
The association is also expecting to host three more qualifying events namely the Spring Open tournament this month end, the Basotho Year Opener Tournament and a Round Robin tournament. The last two tournaments will be held next month.
LIOLI and Likuena midfielder Tumelo Makha is set to leave the country tomorrow where he is expecting to join a South African team.
According to a source close to Makha, the midfielder will meet his agent, Keke Mokoena in South Africa where he has three offers.
“He is expected to leave on Monday and he will meet his agent who says the player has three offers lined up,” the source said.
“It is unclear which other two teams are interested in him but Sekhukhune United is the third.”
Sekhukhune, which will be making its debut in the DStv Premiership when the season starts, made its intentions of acquiring Makha’s services clear during the just ended COSAFA Cup in Port Elizabeth.
Lioli president Lebohang Thotanyana was however, adamant that Makha was still a Lioli after renewing his contract in March this year.
“As far as I know, he is still our player and we haven’t received any formal communication from any team showing interest in him.
“His parents were here this week asking for us to release him but we advised them on the proper procedure to follow. We told them that if a team that wants him should come to us.
“He renewed his contract in March this year and we are expecting him to join the rest of the team on Tuesday for our meeting. We are not even aware that he is leaving,” Thotanyana said.
While the club does not have any problem with Makha leaving for greener pastures, the proper processes must be followed.
“We don’t have a problem with him leaving but it has to be done the right way. He is still registered with us, so where will he get his clearance if he doesn’t involve us? A player must be aware of all these processes,” Thotanyana said.
Efforts to get a comment from Makha were fruitless yesterday as his phone was unavailable.
ECONET Telecom Lesotho (ETL) hosted a one-day golf tournament on Friday to mark the launch of its newly introduced Econet Business unit.
The tournament was held at Maseru Golf Course.
The tournament saw the pair of Vivian Mo and Masuhla Leteka being crowned champions tied on 47 points. In second place was the pair of Sa Li and Mohau Mochebelele tied on 41 points.
Khotso Mothebesoane and Zhou Hong Wei, with 41 points apiece, came third.
Leteka said he was excited about the victory as he did not expect it. The victory was his also his first this year.
“I am a senior golfer having played the sport since 2002 and have won several tournaments,” Leteka said.
“However, I did not see today’s win coming. I was just enjoying myself and playing.
“I am happy to have won because I have been winning at least two tournaments annually. Covid-19 is deterring us from competing outside the country, so I am happy to have won the tournament.”
He also lauded Econet for the initiative and called on other companies to emulate the telephony giant and improve their service delivery.
Econet General Manager Sales and Services, Lebohang Ramaisa explained that Econet Business would focus on providing digital solutions for businesses.
“Econet Business is a new unit within ETL focusing on providing digital solution to businesses,” Ramaisa said.
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home from has been a prominent trend, so we have also catered for doing business from home because people no longer do businesses only from their offices.
“Therefore, the event was meant to showcase and bring awareness to the public regarding digital offices and digital transformation as well as telling people about other things we are doing to enhance our service experience.”
In the next few weeks, he said they would continue exhibiting the business unit with stalls in different places to help the public get a better understanding of the service, he said.
He however, said the Econet Business Golf Tournament will be an annual event.
“We decided to launch the unit through a golf event because golf is a business sport, therefore, it was the right decision. Again, because we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we avoided using contact sports.”