Lesotho forced to hire equipment for AUSC


‘The hosts don’t have even a pair of boxing gloves’



MASERU – Lesotho will be forced to acquire equipment from South Africa and Botswana to successfully host next month’s African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games in Maseru, Public Eye has been reliably informed. Some of the equipment Lesotho is going to hire includes boxing rings, scoring boards, gloves, electronic timing systems for athletics, hurdles and shot puts.

Sources the paper spoke to revealed that the equipment will be hired from Welkom and Bloemfontein in South Africa, and also from Botswana. “These people are going to host these AUSC Games without any equipment of their own, even a pair gloves,” said one source. The boxing scoring machine (also called computer scoring) is going to be sourced from Botswana, while a boxing ring will be acquired from Welkom and gloves from Bloemfontein.”

Our source further said: “It is only now that I am pushing, using the influence that I have that a ring must be bought, even if it will be secured late.” Lesotho only has one boxing ring which belongs to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Boxing Club. “The reason why I am pushing for the purchase of a new ring is because I don’t want us to be dependent on the LDF ring,” the source said.

He further asked: “I mean, if you miss an opportunity like this when will you get it?” The source continued, however, that the hiring a ring and the computer scoring machine will be very expensive compared to buying new ones. “Buying a new expensive ring may cost about M80 000, and it will be cheaper than hiring a ring whose rental will be charged per day that it is here, it should also be accompanied by a trained person from wherever it is going to be hired from.”

Our source also said buying a computer scoring machine could have also been an opportunity for local boxing officials to be trained to operate the system for the first time ever in the history of boxing in the country.

The Lesotho Boxing Association (LeBA) president, Katiso Tšenoli, and the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL)’ Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, both confirmed in separate interviews with Public Eye that there’s no equipment for boxing and athletics competitions for the upcoming Region 5 Youth Games.

Tšenoli said initially Team Lesotho’s management promised to buy the needed equipment, including a boxing ring but said now it seems that will no longer be the case. “Initially, the local organising committee had promised to buy the equipment as Plan A, but now we are going for Plan B which is to hire the equipment from outside the country,” said Tšenoli. The LeBA boss further concurred with sentiments that the cost of hiring a boxing ring, a computer scoring board and gloves is bound to be more expensive than buying new equipment.

Thibinyane, on the other hand, also confirmed that all the equipment to be used for athletics during the games will be hired from outside the country. “We don’t have all the equipment,” said Thibinyane. “We don’t have an electronic timing system, hurdles, high jump mattresses and shot puts, amongst others.” Thibinyane said they needed the latest hurdles and mattresses, and not the outdated ones which they still have.

The LAF secretary general also confirmed that it is going to be more expensive for Lesotho to hire the equipment than what the country would spend on buying new equipment. “The equipment we are talking about will include insurances, technical services and all those, of which it would be expensive to hire than if we could buy completely new equipment. “But we don’t know what the problem with procurement is because the finance ministry has released the money.”

Thibinyane said this was despite the fact that they had already been requested to give specifications of the equipment needed for the Games. “This is despite that on the second week of August we were pressed to give specifications of the equipment to use and we did that.” Thibinyane said the time has now run out for them to start buying equipment because it would have to be manufactured for at least six weeks.

“These athletics equipment I am talking about is not available in South Africa. It is manufactured in Belgium and it takes six weeks to be made. Even if we can get it from South Africa, it will have been ordered from Belgium. So you cannot just go there to buy it, you will have to place an order and then wait for it to be manufactured.”

Botswana Boxing Association’ Secretary General, Taolo Tlouetsile, confirmed to Public Eye that indeed Lesotho has asked them to assist with their computer scoring machines for the boxing events during the upcoming regional youth competition.

“Ok, we were asked to assist and we didn’t charge them,” Tlouetsile said. “They may just offer us a token of appreciation.” Attempts to get comments from the Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Likeleli Tampane, and Lesotho’s Chef de Mission for the games, Caswell Moru, failed as their phones rang unanswered. This challenge of lack of the equipment, has heaped pressure on several of Lesotho’s problems as host for the AUSC Games, with a series of problems borne by delays to start preparations for the competition.

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