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Rugby tourney comes to the Kingdom

Chris Theko

Lesotho will host the upcoming 2022 Rugby Africa Regional Sevens tournament, this after the initial host, Mauritius announced that the country has been heavily hit by rising Covid-19 cases. 

The regional tournament was to be held in Port Louis, Mauritius from January 15 to 16 2022. However, after the change of country by the Rugby Africa, the games are to be held on the 29 to 30 January 2022.

The Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) Secretary-General Litšitso Motšeremeli told this publication on Tuesday that they had to request for a change of date. 

“We had no option but to ask for the change of dates while we prepare ourselves because it was going to be too short notice.

“The whole world is still battling with Covid-19 so it was not a surprise when Mauritius announced that they are having it tough and we were the best possible candidates,” Motšeremeli said.

He mentioned that though this is a big opportunity for Lesotho, it is also a challenge due to no facilities and funding.

This will be the second time Lesotho hosts the tournament. It was hosted at the Bocheletsane stadium in Mantšonyane but Motšeremeli said this time around the countries asked that the tournament be hosted in the city center. 

“This is a big opportunity for us because when you host such games you have a big home ground advantage, the other thing is this games are to be used as a qualifier for the 2022 commonwealth Games.

“But also the financial challenges facing as far as preparations will be very steep, however, we are still waiting to hear from Rugby Africa because they are to assist us. The other challenge is identifying the venue because the countries have requested for the games to be hosted in the city centre,” Motšeremeli said.

The confirmed countries for this year’s edition are Malawi, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), eSwatini and the country which was scheduled to be hosts, Mauritius.

Meanwhile, Likatola Sevens team coach, Morapeli Motaung told this publication on Monday that preparations are well on course for the games. 

“Our preparations are right on schedule and we are still hoping to get at least five days’ camp before the tournament begins but that is yet to be confirmed.

“The only headache we have currently as the technical team is that we are still working with about 20 players all of which are very good but unfortunately we have to trim the team to the final 12 players by next week Monday,” Motaung said. 

The last time the tournament was held in 2019, it was won by the host country Lesotho which means Likatola Rugby sevens go into the tournament as defending champions.

The coach said being defending champions means they have to work extra hard to go into the tournament ready that they are challengers.

Motšeremeli mentioned that they have already identified Machabeng College ground and Kick4Life as possible venues although they are yet to engage in discussions with the management of the facilities.

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