The newly appointed Track and Field Commissioner within Lesotho Athletics Federation (LAF) Thabiso Moqhali says they need better cooperation with schools if they expect better results in the upcoming Region 5 Youth Games.
Mr Moqhali said this in an interview with News4u.co.ls on Monday alluding to the major changes within LAF, which were agreed upon during their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October.
LAF, which was formerly called Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) has resolved to have three commissions to oversee the smooth running or technical aspects of their subjects. The commissions will manage the track and field, marathon running and cross country.
Each commission, which consists of experts in that particular aspects of athletics is headed by a commissioner. Their appointments was done at the beginning of this year and they have already started their jobs.
“We have a lot of responsibilities on our hands and our first test will be the preparation of team Lesotho before the Region 5 games. The youths are still in schools and as a result we cannot train them as we would want but our jobs would be easier if schools allow our coaches to train these athletes where they are instead of waiting for schools to close for vacations,” he said.
He cited the talented long distance runner and 16 year old Manqabang Tsibela as an example of how they are struggling to keep her fit. “I manage to train her while she is in school at Masowe High School, which is not regularly. When they close schools, she goes back to her home in Mantšonyane where there are no coaches. When she’s back we have to start from scratch because she has not been training.”
“During school sports calendar, we see many talented athletes but once the season of sports ends they are lost and will be seen again the following year. What I will be working on is to propose to schools to employ our coaches which are unemployed in numbers, so that athletes in school should not stop training.” He said disclosing that youth athletes in school lack discipline to push themselves that is why they need constant monitoring.
“You have to know that even our own Mosito Lehata started training after the age of 20, when he was no longer in school. This is not how things should be, the ideal athletes should start young and grow within a certain programme to hone his abilities,” he said.
He explained that as a commissioner he is not only improving running but he is also responsible for javelin, discus throw, long and high jumps. In the country we don’t have the facilities and equipment but most schools have these, so our best chance is to work within schools.”
The LAF vice chairperson Tšeliso Pheta said the association mandate is to decentralize the technical management of the athletics, such that they will not have conflicts about the selection of coaches and players during international competitions.
He added that even the name of the association has been changed because they are now experts in their sports. “We have done away with Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association because we are no longer amateurs, we have been doing athletics for a very long time now and we have also seen that we were taken for clowns by sponsors because of the name.”
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