LNOC spokesperson Moshoeshoe Molapo says the committee wants answers
As national body sinks Ramosoeu’s Olympic dream
MASERU – The full picture forwarded for star taekwondo fighter Ramosoeu Nkuebe’s ineligibility to represent the country in last month’s African Qualification Tournament in Morocco was hidden behind a smokescreen of lies, Public Eye can report.
Nkuebe was a late inclusion in the four-man team that represented Lesotho in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, from February 22 to 23 to position themselves for qualification for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
He is supposed to have fought for qualification together with other three other local taekwondo players, Michelle Tau, Rethabile Tjotjo and Marumo Moloisane but was informed upon arrival in Rabat that he was not registered for the qualifiers while the trio Tau, Tjotjo and Moloisane failed to qualify.
Public Eye found out from Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) spokesperson, Sekhokhe Molikoe, that following the below par efforts of the Lesotho fighters who fought in Rabat, Nkuebe failed to compete because he was not registered – calling the registration bungle “an oversight on the part of our organization to properly register Nkuebe for the qualifiers.” But it has emerged since this claim by the LTA that the excuse put forward by the association for Nkuebe’s fate in Rabat is an outright lie.
Sources within the LTA, who preferred anonymity, said the fighter was sidelined from participating in the games in a well calculated move “because he was not even on the initial list of players picked for the qualifiers. He was included on the insistence of the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) who argued he was currently under a high performance scholarship and stood a good chance to qualify.”
“The explanation given out by the LTA is not true at all, they are lying…this was a well calculated and well executed plan to sabotage the young man and the efforts of the LNOC),” the source continued.
Molikoe conceded last week that Nkuebe was not part of the players they were going to send for the qualifiers. “LTA did not register Ramosoeu (Nkuebe) purposely. They didn’t want him to go to the qualifiers from the beginning, saying his current performance is not good,” said the source.
“They (LTA) were also pissed off when the LNOC forced them to include Ramosoeu (Nkuebe) in their list of players for the qualifiers; and that is the reason they did not register him so that even if he goes to Rabat he won’t fight,” the source continued. The source said LTA members did that to sabotage LNOC, knowing very well that they were not going to register Nkuebe for the Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers.
LNOC spokesperson, Moshoeshoe Molapo, has told this reporter they were impatiently awaiting a board meeting where to receive “a full report from the LTA about what really transpired, what led to the fighter not being registered.”
Molapo further confirmed it is true that they pushed for the inclusion of Nkuebe in the list of taekwondo players for the qualifiers. He said this was because he had always been on a high performance scholarship, preparing for the same Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers.
“What we know as the LNOC is that we have always had Ramosoeu (Nkuebe) on the high performance scholarship, and so we were worried and surprised that he was not included in the team which was going to Morocco for the qualifiers despite that we had all along been preparing him for the same qualifiers,” said Molapo in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday.
Molapo said as a result, the LNOC and LTA ended up reaching an agreement to include Nkuebe in the team, adding that he was surprised to later realised that he was not registered for the qualifiers. “So we were equally surprised that Ramosoeu was not registered. In fact, I picked this up when the final list was released,” he said.
Molapo further said: “That’s when we learnt that there must be a mistake and we inquired from the LTA and found out that indeed they did not register Ramosoeu, claiming that it’s been an oversight.”
Molapo, who is a former LTA president, said he failed to understand the LTA’s claim. He said they knew all the processes for registering players for competitions like this, and that to claim it was an oversight pointed towards some sinister motive.