Chess Federation of Lesotho finally went to the polls two weeks back at the allegedly CAF disapproved Setsoto Stadium premises.
This would be the third time the budding federation goes to the polls nearly 20 years of its existence. The elections would also be its first fiercely contested instalment with close to 15 candidates vying for the helm.
Overseen by an independent electoral commission consisting of both the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission and Lesotho National Olympic Committee stalwarts, the elections which were declared free, fair, and less stressful produced an incredible combination of chess leaders mandated to take the sport to another level.
The presidency position – the king and the pilot of the federation was retained by the highly experienced and reliable Tseliso Motloheloa who boasts over 20 years’ experience in chess highlighted by excellence in leadership, good playing track record, as well as a healthy quantity of links with both African Chess and the world chess governing body FIDE.
He is Lesotho’s first chess arbiter and played a leading role in influencing the love for the role which now has over five prospective arbiters.
Mr Motloheloa brings in a solid ground for chess development having led Lesotho’s version of Mini Chess, an initiative that drives academic learning in primary schools using chess as a tool. Mr Motloheloa also sits in the FIDE Schools commission, a commission which the world chess governing body dedicated to school’s chess.
The second in charge, Vice President was given to Teboho Cekwane. A fierce and passionate chess player, Mr Cekwane brings in good experience in chess as well as an ability to influence and push for objectivity.
A science teacher by profession Mr Cekwane was a strategic selection by the chess community as part of their quest to solidify grip on schools’ chess.
The secretary general role was won by Mr Tlhoriso Morienyane who has chess experience spanning over 15 years. Morienyane served the federation before, first as development officer and later as an interim president. Morienyane, who is a qualified national instructor and a chess arbiter, brings in passion for development and clear lines and roles in administration.
Without properly managed finances, CFL’s efforts to make chess a way of life in the country will not see the light of day and the treasury office operates to manage the gold of the federation. For this role, the chess community opted for a Chartered Accountant by the name of Mphethole Mona.
The soft-spoken lad whose love and passion for chess cannot be questioned after his establishment of a fully functional chess academy, brings in a bag of experience in basic book-keeping, accounting principles, cash management principles and well as budgeting and reporting. It is safe to say that CFL’s treasures will be in safe hands for the coming five years.
For the public relations office, Chess Lesotho opted for the tried and tested Khiba Selatela. Selatela who played a key role in ensuring that chess stays in the media for good reasons in the past five years, having secured coverage across newspapers, different radios as well as the national television. Selatela has a talent of simplifying complex chess jargon into digestible content for the consumption of the public when reporting. Having received arbiters’ training as well as chess trainers’ training, Selatela brings in much-needed experience to the portfolio and will ensure that chess news reaches all corners of the earth.
Phera Moseli also retained his role as the development officer. Phera is credited with building a formidable squad of players who are predominantly Under-18 and have terrorised opponents in both chess league matches as well as major tournaments.
Phera is so good with coaching and development that he got one of his talent to represent the country in the 43rd instalment of chess Olympiad in Georgia Batumi. A qualified chess instructor Mr Moseli has become a key figure in the Mini-Chess development programme and continues to add value to the sport by spotting, nurturing and coaching talent for use by the CFL.
The seventh piece in the CFL executive would be Theko Khanyapa who occupies the role of players’ representative. Thekho, who is in the top five of Lesotho’s highest ranked players and has attended a course in sports administration offered by LNOC, would be the link between the federation executive with the players.
A focused disciplinarian and principled player Mr Khanyapa is also an accredited national instructor who is passionate about players and their welfare – technical and otherwise and will bring much needed value into the CFL.
To complete the 10 pieces needed for chess exco set up, the federation elected Mr Motlatsi Motlhokoa, Mohlekoa Mokemane and Maretsepile Malemoha. The three members will help keep the whole set up in check.