Metropolitan, LNA unveil netball attire



MASERU – Metropolitan Lesotho and the Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) on Tuesday this week unveiled playing attire for the senior female netball national team. The clothing comprising, among others, tracksuits, T-shirts and shorts was initially meant for use by the team on their trip to Windhoek, Namibia, for the Africa Netball Cup which took place from November 9 to 16 last year. Lesotho, however, failed to honour the tournament after the LNA failed to secure transport sponsorship to Windhoek.

“We approached Metropolitan Lesotho for support as an association and, though we received a response late, the company agreed to help us,” said LNA president, ’Mamotšabi Lekhabunyane, during the handover of the attire in Maseru on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the trip did not materialise after we failed to secure funds for transport, which was around M60 000 and M70 000.” Lekhabunyane said all other logistical support for the Windhoek trip were in order, except for the transportation of the team.

“We had already incurred expenses to prepare the team for the tournament, so it was very painful to us as an association and to the players,” he said. On the other hand, Lekhabunyane said the failure has been a lesson for them and it bound to be useful in future in terms of how to approach companies for sponsorship. “I think this has been a lesson for us to try and improve our approach to the corporate world to help us as sports people because nowadays it is very hard get funds from the government.”

As a registered member of the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC), LNA qualifies for an annual subvention from the sports commission as the government’s partner in sports through the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation. Public Eye has found out that the netball association is entitled to M100 000 annually, but Lekhabunyane said her association has not been receiving the subvention from the LSRC for the past three years.

Lack of funds to support organisational operations from the sports commission has been identified as a major challenge in several associations for some time now. Metropolitan Lesotho’s Head of Life Business, Seenyane Nthejane, said during the event that the LNA approached them in October last year with a proposal for sponsorship, just a month before the Africa Netball Cup.

“The office of the president approached Metropolitan Lesotho, indicating that the Covid-19 pandemic had affected them financially. As a result, they needed help with certain aspects of their budget for the Namibia trip,” said Nthejane. “So we agreed as two institutions that we will take care of the dressing kit for the team.”

Nthejane, who is a former premier league player, said playing outfits were a very important requirement for players in any competition. He said when a team does not have playing kit, that alone discouraged players and they are likely to lose to their opponents just because they are better dressed. The dressing kit is valued at between M28 000 and M30 000.

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