Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lesotho names provisional squad for Netball World Cup qualifiers

Lesotho will attempt to qualify for the 2019 Netball World Cup in August...

Lesotho has named a provisional squad of 17 players for the 2019 Netball World Cup Regional Qualifier tournament for Africa in August.

The qualifying championship will be held in Lusaka, Zambia from August 13 to 19 and will decide the two African teams that will join next year’s field at the Netball World Cup.

The 17-strong preliminary squad will start training this week and will be trimmed to a final list of 12 players a month before the tournament in Lusaka starts.

Lesotho’s national netball team is coached by Matobako Molai with Thabo Mokobocho as his assistant coach.

“It will not be an easy challenge,” Molai said. “Therefore, we have to work hard in order to prepare a competitive and competent team for the tournament.”

Molai said Lesotho will look to secure friendly matches against neighbouring countries, such as South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, to prepare.

Molai continued: “Based on the recent performances and standards in the (Lesotho Netball Association) domestic league I believe the national team players have what it takes to stand the pressure in the competition. The (Africa Qualifier) will help to boost our new players get international exposure.”

The 2019 Netball World Cup will be the fifteenth staging of netball’s premier competition which is contested every four years. The tournament will be held from July 12 to 21 in 2019 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

16 nations will contest the 2019 tournament. Lesotho is looking to qualify for the first time.

Five teams – Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, South Africa and Malawi – were automatically qualified into the tournament in January by virtue of their high positions in the INF World Rankings while England also qualified as hosts.

The remaining ten teams were to due qualify via regional qualification tournaments with two teams selected from each of the five international netball regions – Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

In January, Northern Ireland and Scotland qualified from the Regional Europe Qualifier and then, in April, Samoa and Fiji qualified from the Regional Oceania Qualifier.

Netball World Cup Qualified teams

Australia (#1 ranking as of January 2018)
New Zealand (#2 ranking)
Jamaica (#4 ranking)
South Africa (#5 ranking)
Malawi (#6 ranking)
Northern Ireland

Apart from the Africa tournament in Zambia, the Americas will decide their qualifiers in August and September in Barbados while Asia’s decider is scheduled for September in Singapore.

Provisional Lesotho Netball Squad:
‘Marethabile Sepiriti, Khahliso Matsinyane, ‘Malesenyeho Matsepe, Neo Mothobi, ‘Maboiketlo Khethollo, ‘Mamotšabi Lekhabunyane, Lisebo Tlali, Lerato Moeti, Tseleng Molefi, Rethabile Ntobo, ‘Mapaseka Mokilane, Thato Lekhooa, ‘Maneo Mosito, ‘Malintša Khanyetsi, Paballo Rannetla, Pulane Leuta, ‘Mamahali Khohleli

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Majantja hire South African coach Ramoshoeu Malapane

Majantja will have a new coach for the 2018/19 Econet Premier League season...
Majantja have hired little known South African coach Ramoshoeu Kabelo Malapane as their new coach for the 2018/19 Econet Premier League season.

The 29 year-old Malapane holds a CAF B License and will oversee the club’s pre-season which starts this week. He has signed a one year contract.

“I thank God for giving me this amazing opportunity to lead this club as head coach in the Lesotho Premier League,” Malapane is quoted as saying by the Mohale’s Hoek club.

Malapane will be tasked with building on last season’s commendable eighth place finish in what was Majantja’s first season back in the elite league since 2012.
New Majantja coach Ramoshoeu Kabelo Malapane
Meanwhile, Majantja’s southern rivals Liphakoe are still looking for a coach after the surprise departure of Motolo Makepe two weeks ago.

Makepe, who took over as Liphakoe boss early into last season after Motebang Makhetha left the club, led the Quthing outfit to their most wins (eight) since their return to the Premiership in 2015. However, it wasn’t enough to secure a top eight finish as Liphakoe ended the 2017/18 in ninth place, two points behind Majantja.

Liphakoe communications and marketing manager Tau Sebatli said the club will have to act fast to find a replacement for Makepe.

“We are resuming training (this week),” Sebatli said. “We are looking to announce the new coach and his assistant soon since we are already preparing for next season. We will also announce our new signings soon.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Swallows to make debut in pre-season Alliance Winter Challenge

Newly-promoted Swallows are on the up and up...

Newly-promoted Swallows will get an early chance to showcase their skills on the national stage when they take part in this year’s Alliance Winter Challenge.

In April the Mazenod side won promotion to next season’s Econet Premier League after winning the A-Division South Stream and a month later Maswai-swai completed a first division double by claiming the A-Division Top 8 title.

Their success has earned Swallows their first invite to the pre-season Winter Challenge tournament in July which is sponsored by insurance company, Alliance Insurance.

The competition was launched in 2015 is contested by the three Premiership clubs sponsored by Alliance – namely Matlama, Lioli and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) – as well as a fourth invitee.

In 2015’s debut competition it was Liphakoe the guest team; in 2016 it was Sundawana while last year it was eventual league winners Bantu who completed the tournament’s quartet.

Maswai-swai public relations officer Lekoala Ralekoala said Swallows are excited to be part of the showpiece for the first time and are determined to prove themselves against their stellar opponents.

“As a new team in the (Econet) Premier League we are honoured to be invited for such a big tournament and even though we are going to face big teams, we are not only going there to participate but to compete,” Ralekoala said.

Since its introduction the Alliance Winter Challenge has grown into the country’s flagship pre-season football tournament. Ralekoala said Swallows hope the competition will give them the exposure to attract sponsors to help the club in what will be their first time in the Premier League since 2011.

“We know it will not be easy to win the cup but if we can play good football then we can increase our chances of attracting sponsors into the team,” Ralekoala said.

LCS will enter the 2018 Alliance Winter Challenge as two-time defending champions after winning the title last year and in 2016. Last year Masheshena beat Matlama 1-0 in the final.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Taekwondo Lesotho star Marumo Moloisane makes bright start to life in Germany

Moloisane has made a promising start to his quest for Tokyo 2020 qualification...

Lesotho taekwondo star Marumo Moloisane is looking forward to the future after winning bronze at last month’s 2018 Austrian Open Tournament.

Moloisane, who is based in Germany, finished third in the 58 kilogram competition at the championships held in Innsbruck, Austria to jump-start his dreams of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The 24 years old Khubetsoana born fighter is, of course, part of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity programme which assists elite athletes selected by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in their preparations and qualification for Olympic Games.

Moloisane was one of six athletes chosen by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) last year to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Thanks to the scholarship, he is training at the renowned TCC Friedrichshafen High-Performance Training Centre in Germany and will be based there until 2020.

Olympic athletes Mosito Lehata and Tšepang Sello are also part of the Olympic Solidarity programme and are based at the University of the Free State Sports Science Institute (FSSSI) where they are rubbing shoulders with South African star Wade van Niekerk who is the world 400 metres champion.

The other athletes in the programme are Lerato Sechele (athletics), Moroke Mokhotho (boxing) and Tumelo Makae (cycling) although all three are under domestic placement and are training in Lesotho.

Moloisane at the TCC Centre in Germany
Moloisane’s success comes months after he started his Germany camp in December and it is a promising sign.

He narrowly missed the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil and expressed determination to avoid the same fate in 2020.

Moloisane said being based abroad will help.

“Being outside the country helps me compete regularly against players from different countries so there is no doubt that my international exposure will grow,” Moloisane said.

“Germany is a great place for my career because it produces the best taekwondo athletes,” he added. “Training outside the country is also preferable because when you are at home (in Lesotho) it is not easy to attend (international) tournaments.”

Also important: competing at international events such as the Austrian Open Tournament will boost Moloisane’s ranking points.

Those points will come in handy when World Taekwondo makes its final cut in 2020 for the 60 male fighters that will qualify for the taekwondo tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Lesotho claims bronze at 2018 COSAFA Cup

Nkoto Masoabi (left) celebrates his winner against Madagascar with Hlompho Kalake...

An early goal from Kick4Life striker Nkoto Masoabi handed Lesotho a 1-0 victory over Madagascar at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening and a first-ever bronze medal for Likuena at the COSAFA Cup.

Likuena had previously won silver at the COSAFA Cup when they lost the 2000 final to Zimbabwe but, apart from that, this is the team’s best showing at the regional showpiece.

For Madagascar it was a sixth fixture in 13 days and they battled to hit the heights of previous games in the tournament but did have chances to get something from the game.

Lesotho hit the front after an early period of pressure when Masoabi rifled the ball into the roof of the net from close-range after Madagascar hesitated in clearing the ball.

The first half in Polokwane saw few chances with the best for Madagascar falling to Rabeson Fetraniaina who got a clear sight of goal but put his low shot wide with Lesotho goalkeeper Likano Mphuthi at his mercy.

Jaotombo Bourahim was then presented with a shooting chance early in the second period, but his low effort was straight at the keeper, and he later fired wide when well-placed.

At the other end, Lesotho midfielder Hlompho Kalake flashed a vicious shot inches wide while Litšepe Marabe was denied by a good stop from Malagasy goalkeeper Jean Dieu Randrianasolo.

Likuena were able to close out the final minutes and ensure that they went through their three games at the 2018 COSAFA Cup without conceding a goal. 

Earlier in the day hosts South Africa wrapped up the Plate final with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Botswana.

A sixth game in 12 days was always going to be a tough ask for the Zebras and so it proved as South Africa dominated the game.

South Africa hit the front after Botswana could only half-clear a corner and when the ball came back to Aubrey Modiba, his left-footed cross was perfect for Motjeka Madisha to steer his header past a stranded Masule on 39 minutes for his first international goal.

It was 2-0 to South Africa with 12 minutes remaining as a swift break saw Siphesihle Ndlovu rampage down the right-hand side having beaten the offside trap and his square-ball was easily tapped home by Modiba for his second goal in as many matches.

And the home side grabbed another late on as Lebohang Maboe raced clear and rounded the goalkeeper to score his third of the competition.

Saturday will see the completion of the tournament as Zambia take on Zimbabwe in the final for the fourth time in the last six COSAFA Cups.

Both the Warriors and Chipolopolo are chasing the R500 000 first prize while the runners-up will receive R250 000.

Hlompho Kalake (right) was influential again for Lesotho...
Lesotho claimed R150 000 for finishing third while Madagascar took over R125 000 for their fourth-place.

South Africa picked up R100 000 for winning the Plate competition which represents fifth place.

Friday’s COSAFA Cup Results:
Plate Final:
South Africa (1) 3 (Motjeka Madisha 39’, Aubrey Modiba 78’, Lebohang Maboe 89’)
Botswana (0) 0

Cup Third Place Playoff:
Madagascar (0) 0
Lesotho (1) 1 (Masoabi Nkoto 10’)

Tournament Stats:
Matches played: 22
Goals scored: 42
Biggest victory: Botswana 6-0 Mauritius (Group B, June 1)
Most goals in a game: 6 - Botswana 6-0 Mauritius (Group B, June 1)

Top Goalscorers:
5 goals – Onkabetse Makgantai (Botswana)
4 goals – Luis Miquissone (Mozambique)
3 goals – Kabelo Seakanyeng (Botswana), Lebohang Maboe (South Africa)
2 goals – Joatombo Bourahim (Madagascar), Jeitoso (Mozambique), Aubrey Modiba (South Africa)
1 goal – Kaporal (Angola), Mohamed M’changama (Comoros Islands), Andriamirado Andrianarimanana, Tokifandresena Andriamanjato (both Madagascar), Precious Sambani (Malawi), Damien Balisson (Mauritius), Leeroy Coralie, Eric Miellie, Elijah Tamboo (all Seychelles), Karabo Phiri, Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Tshepo Maikano, Gape Mohutsiwa (all Botswana), Motebang Sera, Masoabi Nkoto (both Lesotho), Evans Rusike (Zimbabwe), Motjeka Madisha, Siyanda Xulu (both South Africa), Deon Hotto (Namibia), Lazarous Kambole (Zambia)