…as AUSC Region 5 Youth Games beckon
MASERU – Middle-distance star athlete ’Manqabang Tsibela is not to be in good shape ahead of the upcoming African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games set for December this year in Maseru. Dubbed the ‘Maseru AUSC 2020 Games’, the regional youth competition was initially supposed to take place in December last year, but had to be postponed to this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lesotho selected its athletics team for the Region 5 Youth Games during the National Youth Championship at Setsoto Stadium a fortnight ago. According to the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, Tsibela is currently not in good shape. This is despite Tsibela being the Region 5 Games Gold medallist, having won two Gold medals; one in 3 000m and the other in 1 500m from the 2016 AUSC Games which were held in Angola and another gold medal in 3 000m from the AUSC Games which were held in Botswana in 2018.
“Tsibela has gained weight and we will have to work on her fitness before it is too late,” said Thibinyane in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday this week. Thibinyane further said: “To be honest, it is obvious that she lacks proper coaching.” The FAL Secretary General said whoever is calling themselves Tsibela’s coach has completely lost the plot. But he said time is still on Tsibela’ side, as she is only 17 years old.
“But she is still very young to recover and of course we will have to help her to revive her career.” Tsibela’s weight, Thibinyane admitted, has affected her performance badly of late. He said this could be one of the reasons why she’s no longer training in high altitude venues like she used to before she relocated from Mantšonyane in Thaba-Tseka to Maseru. “What could have also contributed to her dismal performance maybe the fact that she has recently relocated from Thaba-Tseka to Maseru.”
Thibinyane said as evidence for what he thought is that Tsibela is being outrun by athletes she used to outrun while she was still based in Matšonyane. “That is because some of those athletes are those who are still based in rural districts like Mokhotlong,” Thibinyane said. FAL has selected 50 athletes for the AUSC Region 5 Youth Games, 25 male athletes and 25 female athletes. Thibinyane said they were all young promising athletes to win medals. “The competition was very good and we have managed to select the best team of 50 athletes; 25 girls and 25 boys.” Among Lesotho’s AUSC Region 5 Youth Games hopefuls is the young-and-upcoming sprint female athlete, ’Mamokoaleli Senauoane, Sethunya Mokheseng, Kamohelo Mofolo and Hlompho Letele. Thibinyane said the four athletes together with Tsibela were part of 50 athletes to represent the country at the upcoming Region 5 Games.