Tue. Aug 20th, 2019

Lawn tennis woes far from over

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – It seems administration problems within the Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association (LLTA) are far from over with its executive members continuing to contradict each other on matters of principle.

The long-running feud is the main reason why the committee ended up falling out with the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) some months ago.

The recent most infamous spat has been over the release of funds for the players’ international competitions, while the latest was over failure to provide funding for the Lesotho tennis team that took part in one International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments held in Harare, Zimbabwe some weeks ago.

This was despite the fact that funds from the ITF were available for the players.

Public Eye has heard that the problem goes back a fairly long time ago.

It was in fact experienced during one international trip in South Africa at the beginning of the year where LTTA chairperson, Kholu Tsumane, had to engage parents to individually pay for their children (being the players).

“The only problem is that there are three people (LLTA members) who are against the release of funds for international tournaments,” Tsumane said in an interview on Monday this week.

“They literally refused so I have to negotiate with parents in order for the children to go for such competitions. They (members) don’t understand. They think such tournaments are for children from rich families.”

Tsumane said this was despite his association getting travel grants from the ITF whenever they had to compete at any ITF tournament.

“We get travelling grants which after being deposited into the association’s account are never released for players to go and compete at international level,” Tsumane said.

She added the association’s woes also stemmed from the fact that LSRC had for some time now suspended all tennis activities as a result of which they did not get any assistance from the commission unlike before when they used to get funds for the development of the sport, including taking players to international competitions.

“LSRC had a long time ago suspended our activities. What caused the suspension was the fact that some of the committee members had questioned the legitimacy of the commission during the time it tried to intervene in our squabbles as LLTA members,” Tsumane said.

She however said LSRC was still fulfilling its other responsibilities like paying for the association’s necessary bills, amongst others.

LSRC public relations officer Teboho Rakhomo, confirmed that the commission had suspended LLTA committee.

“Yes, LSRC has suspended lawn tennis and its activities. The reason being there seemed to be infightings within the administration of lawn tennis, while there was also no co-operation between members of the tennis committee,” Rakhomo said.

Rakhomo said the problem of the tennis committee proved to be difficult to resolve, adding LSRC tried to mediate but failed to resolve the impasse.

“LSRC tried to intervene but could not reach a solution. So, the position of LSRC was that the infightings violate some of the requirements of their membership and, as a result, it suspended them until they resolve the impasse,” Rakhomo said.

But Rakhomo said in the meantime LSRC would continue fulfilling its obligations by working with the lawn tennis secretariat.

“But major activities by the lawn tennis committee could not continue for that reason,” he said.

However, Rakhomo further said LSRC had also resolved that activities like the regional competitions and others that were meant for the players should continue as if nothing had happened.

The only solution to the tennis problems, Tsumane said, is to go for elections, especially because her committee’s term in office is over.

“Our committee’s term expired in December 2018 and its problems continue to paralyse the whole association,” she said.

“So I think the only solution to tennis problems is go to elections.”

But now the current LLTA has to amend the tennis constitution and register it with the law office before it can hold elections.

Tsumane said her disgruntled committee is currently being guided by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee on the amendment of the constitution and they are about to complete it.

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