MASERU – Former Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) president, Moshoeshoe Molapo, says he has a vision to revive the national taekwondo sport to its glory days.
Molapo is seeking re-election as the sport’s president; he failed to in his previous effort to lead the current executive committee whose term expires soon.
Elections in the taekwondo fraternity are set to take place this Saturday after they were postponed more than twice, due to squabbles between some of the association’s member clubs and executive members.
Misunderstandings evolved around which clubs were eligible to participate at the LTA elections, ending up in the courts of law.
The last postponed LTA elective conference was pencilled for March this year.
Molapo is the only candidate who is contesting for the LTA presidency from outside the outgoing executive committee, and has his battle planned against the current Vice President Administration, Nthati Theko, and Vice President Technical, Likhama Leuta, who are also looking to be elected into power.
“What is important is to return the glory days of taekwondo because as we speak now the image of taekwondo is shabby,” said Molapo in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday.
“You will realise that we have over a year now during which the press has been reporting negative news about our sport, and that’s an indication of the bad administration which I believe may also have resulted in some people to lose interest in the game.”
Molapo further said: “Another issue is visible divisions within the local taekwondo fraternity…which are actually not necessary.
“This is while I am not saying it is wrong when people have electioneering camps. The kind of splits I am pointing at are those that permeate even after office bears have left office, where the new faces that come in concoct a plan fight against you…which is what the incumbent executive members are doing.
“It’s like they don’t want to see you anywhere near the game regardless of possession of qualities that are needed to develop the sport. But you are chased away even at an international level where you have affiliations so that you can no longer serve the sport.”
Molapo said this is an unfortunate reality to befall the sport in the country, a sport which known to be disciplined.
“This makes me ponder always as to makes our taekwondo executive committee to behave in this manner. Such behaviour is seen for the first time in the history of the sport here at home. We have people with very rare skills. So it is not wise that people like those, who foreigners use and benefit from their skills are being mistreated by their own country, simply because those who are in leadership want to sabotage them so that they can no longer serve the sport at any level.”
Molapo also said taekwondo in Lesotho cannot survive without sponsorship under any circumstances.
“You cannot survive in isolation, being a small sport like ours. You need to have partnerships with other international sport organisations for the benefit of the improvement of our sport.
As we talk we don’t have sponsorships and there is no how we can survive without sponsors and partners who back you up with money, equipment and other necessary things.”
Molapo said if he’s elected to return to the helm of the fraternity at tomorrow elections he will make sure that the partnerships they had before are resurrected.
“I am not talking about things that we will start looking for, but relationships that were there during my previous administration. I had a partnership with the South Dublin Taekwondo Association in Ireland, who helped our country with equipment. We had signed an agreement with them and the sports ministry for our taekwondo players to camp in Dublin when preparing for international competitions.”
Molapo said they also had a partnership with the Thailand Taekwondo Association, and likewise hey had discussions in which they far East country promised that Lesotho players will train in their country free of charge while also getting accommodation as well schooling in Thailand.
“We also had a good partnership with the Korean Embassy who sponsored the Ambassador’s Cup, that competition is no longer there since we left office,” he said.
Molapo further pointed at the sponsorship for player, Thainyane Lithakong, to pursue a Master’s Star of Taekwondo in South Korea. He said the player did not come back home after finishing his course.
“Thainyane Lithakong ended up working in Korea where he is mentoring the South Koreans instead of coming back home to help his countrymen, saying he could not come back home where he knows that he’s not expected and would be mistreated instead of being supported. So instead, he took offers he got in South Korea to mentor at schools.”
LTA president Moorosane Nkesi and his deputy, Molupe Molupe, both resigned last year respectively.
Nkesi said he stepped down because of the corruption within the LTA leadership and also since their term of office had already expired.
That was after LTA failed to hold its elective conference in March last year, per the constitution, citing COVID-19 national lockdown restrictions.