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Monday, February 12, 2018

Lesotho’s Rugby Africa Bronze Cup debut set for May

Likatola hoping for more success in 2018...
Lesotho’s debut in the Rugby Africa Bronze Cup has been set for May in Accra, Ghana.

Likatola will be making their first-ever appearance in the tournament which is the third tier of the annual Africa Cup.

The competition will be contested by four nations and Lesotho will take on Mauritius in the semis for a place in the final.

Lesotho, Mauritius, Rwanda and hosts Ghana are the sides that will lock horns and the tournament has been scheduled for May 9 to 12 with the winners set to be promoted to the second tier Silver Cup.

Likatola booked their spot in the Bronze Cup last November by winning the Rugby Africa Regional Challenge for southern nations ahead of Malawi and Swaziland.

The promotion was the high point of Likatola’s rapid rise and now the team sits on the doorstep of being counted amongst Africa’s top rugby nations.

Lesotho’s rise has been helped by playing regularly against international opponents.

Last September, the country made its debut at the International Lusaka Rugby Sevens Tournament. Several weeks later the Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) hosted the first-ever Maseru International Sevens at Setsoto Stadium which had visitors from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Mauritius.

The experience has helped boost Lesotho’s confidence on the international stage but Likatola team manager Letsielo Mabitle said further improvements still have to be made with the level of competition set to increase again in Ghana.

“The players have gained confidence by playing international games; they just have to adjust when it comes to their level of play, especially against such countries that are very strong physically. We again have to work on our weaknesses in order to raise our game,” Mabitle said.

The format of Rugby Africa’s annual continental competition for its member nations – the Africa Cup – was modified last year with changes to the names of its three different tiers to Gold, Silver and Bronze.

·         The Gold Cup is the tier 1 event and is contested by the continent’s six strongest teams. In 2017 the contenders were Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, Senegal, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

·         The Silver Cup is the tier 2 tournament and it is made up of four teams. In 2017 it was contested by Botswana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Morocco.

·         The Bronze Cup is the tier 3 event and is divided into a Group North and a Group South. Last year the northern group contained Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon. In 2018 the southern group will comprise of Lesotho, Mauritius, Rwanda and Ghana.

Rugby Africa Bronze Cup Schedule:
May 9
Lesotho v Mauritius
Ghana v Rwanda

May 12
3rd place playoff

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