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Sport Public Eye

May 11, 2018

Fight for Roof of Africa slots NTHAKO MAJORO

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ASERU – A total of 280 riders from both South Africa and Lesotho will battle-it-out for slots in the bronze qualifiers of this year’s edition of the Roof of Africa Rally scheduled for Roma from tomorrow. The main event, the 2018 Roof of Africa Rally, is set for December 5 to 8 in Roma. The competition’s chief marshal, James De Jesus, said they were expecting 276 South African riders for the weekend’s qualifier. “Four of the 280 riders comprise Teboho Moretlo, Basia ’Maseatile, Tobatsi ’Maseatile and Timello Tšolo from Lesotho,” said De Jesus in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday. The new kid on the block Tšolo will be making his debut appearance in the race, while Moretlo and the two Maseatile brothers have previously competed in the event. But none of the three local riders’ showing was up

to scratch. In last year’s edition, both brothers managed to race to the fine line while Moretlo pulled out before the end of the race. “This time around local riders are well and we expect better performance from them this year,” De Jesus said adding competitors would battle-it-out in two loops at the weekend qualifier. The terrain he said is too technical, adding: “The first loop will be 30 km long while the second will be 52km. Our expectation is that a rider who will run the fastest time will finish the first loop in two hours, and the second loop in three and half hours.” Time bar for the first rider, who will be expected to leave the first loop at 07:00, is 12:00. “The second time bar will be 2hours and 30 minutes, while the third will be 4 hours and 30 minutes,” De Jesus indicated. Lesotho’s only silver class competitor, Joseph

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Motenane, is said to have targeted the weekend qualifier to help him intensify his preparations for the main Roof of Africa Race. “Motenane is actually not going to compete but to race as part of training for the main event in December,” said the Lesotho Off-Road Association (LORA) spokesperson, Keketso Malebo. Malebo said Lesotho would also hold an off-road car race later in September. This kind of event used to be held in the country before with Malebo saying they have decided to revive it years after it went out of operation. “We are already preparing a route for the car race. We have five local off-road car racers. One of the cars belongs to MGC, the two Makenete brothers, Katleho and Lehlohonolo, and the others are owned by LEO and Vennor Kennedy,” Malebo told Public Eye on Tuesday. He added that off-road competitors like the Makenete brothers also race in South Africa where they are performing quite well.

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Public Eye

Friday May 11, 2018 21

International Sport News

Arsenal ditch big-name candidate …as they edge closer to drawing up new short-list John Cross Arsenal have slashed their managerial shortlist - and Patrick Vieira has made the cut. They have also got Max Allegri and Mikel Arteta among the candidates to succeed Arsene Wenger this summer as they look to reduce the options to five names they will present to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique appears to be out of the running because of his wage demands, and also with the Gunners as keen on appointing a young head coach as they are to turn to a big name. Arsenal want to make an appointment before the World Cup kicks off on June 14, but are also acutely aware of the distraction of the finals in Russia, a shorter transfer

window that closes on August 9 and their pre-season plans, which mean that in an ideal world it would be done quicker. Former Arsenal captain Vieira - now in charge of Major League Soccer’s New York City - would be a popular choice among the fans, while Manchester City coach Arteta, who also wore the armband for the club, has big support within the Emirates hierarchy. Juventus boss Allegri has indicated his interest, but the Italian club - set to win their seventh consecutive Serie A title and fourth in a row under him - also want to keep him and are prepared to offer a new contract. Germany coach Joachim Low has been a contender postRussia 2018, while Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim is also well thought of. H o f f e n h e i m ’s J u l i a n

Nagelsmann has hinted he may want to stay in Germany for another year. Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is on board with a young appointment, while the Kroenkes also had big success in the NFL last season by naming Sean McVay as the Los Angeles Rams’ head coach when he was just 30. After over a decade of mediocrity, the Rams won 11 of 16 games under McVay to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. They are likely to present a big name option as well as a younger coach to the Kroenkes - majority shareholder Stan’s son, Josh, is taking a hands-on role - to succeed 68-year-old Wenger.

Could the Invincibles’ captain succeed their manager at the Emirates?

Rooney agrees ‘deal in principle’ to join DC United Simon Stone

Wayne Rooney re-joined Everton from Manchester United in July 2017

Wayne Rooney has agreed a deal in principle that could see him leave Everton for Major League Soccer side DC United this summer in a £12.5m deal. Rooney's representatives have been in the US to negotiate terms and the former England skipper is willing to leave the Premier League club. Nothing has been signed yet and uncertainty over Everton boss Sam Allardyce's position means the forward, 32, could stay at Goodison Park. Rooney re-joined Everton in July 2017. He spent 13 seasons

at Manchester United after signing from Everton as an 18-year-old, becoming their record goalscorer and winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League. It is understood Rooney has been offered a contract until the end of the 2020 MLS season. The US transfer window does not open until July. Earlier this week, Allardyce said Rooney wants to stay and dismissed suggestions England's record goalscorer is frustrated with his role. "It would have to be massive for him to want leave Everton," the former England manager told Talksport. "I've not had a problem from

day one with Wayne (but) the Wayne Rooney saga continues on doesn't it?" Allardyce's future is also uncertain at the club, with fans not happy with his style of play. Rooney, who is halfway through a two-year deal at Goodison Park, has played 31 times in the league this season with four appearances from the bench. He reacted angrily to being substituted against Liverpool in a 0-0 draw last month. Rooney is Everton's top scorer with 11 goals this season. Rooney's return to his beloved Everton last summer was meant to provide an emotional final flourish to a magnificent career. - BBC

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22

Public Eye

Friday May 11, 2018

Sport News From The Terraces NTHAKO MAJORO

Huge loss for domestic football The passing away of Thabane Rankara has left most football lovers stunned. The sports man was a force to be reckoned with in the domestic league. The former LCS and senior national squad, Likuena striker was a speedy forward who was revered for his lethal assaults. Thabi, as his friends and former teammates called him was highly respected for his speed, which made him one of the deadliest forwards in local football. The footballer played to score, which is exactly what every striker should do in the pitch. Testimony to this is that during the 2008/09 Season, Rankara won the premier league’s top goal-scorer. At the time, the Lesotho Premier League (LPL) was sponsored by the same sponsors, Econet, through their brand, Buddie. That was the last Buddie Premier League as Vodacom took over in the following season, 2009/10 until this year when Econet bounced back. Lioli won the 2009/2010 Buddie Premier League title and LDF were the runners up. I don’t recall what position LCS appeared on the log but Rankara was the main goal scorer of the league notwithstanding that his team failed to win the title. But guess what, Rankara was very when he returned home empty-handed after only the title trophy was presented to the victors. Rankara had earlier been invited to the event to collect his golden boot award though he only left the occasion later without his hard earned accolade. I attended the event and immediately after the league trophy, medals and prizes were awarded with nobody saying anything on why individual accolades were not given. I was the first journalist to interview Rankara. There is no doubt the fact that he was denied his award was a major cut in his heart especially because no explanation with no explanation offered. Certainly fact that he didn’t get what he was supposed to get there became a stab in his heart. Rankara was by nature a taciturn man though he always accommodated interviews with newsmen. I recall how bitter he still was over the elusive award some years later when I profiled him. We later formed a serious amity and I know for a fact how passionate he was about football and its development. He did not appear affable to most people because of his laidback demeanor but when one got to know him better, he was an easy-going man who loved a good laugh every now and again. During his playing days, Rankara won the league title more than once with his club LCS, including several domestic cup competitions. Because he was one of the best strikers in the country, he was part of the Likuena squad that competed in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Base and softball experts revisit Lesotho NTHAKO MAJORO MASERU- Two foreign sports experts from Italy and the United States of America are expected in Lesotho soon to make an assessment on the country’s baseball and softball development programmes. According to the Lesotho Baseball and Softball Association (LBSA) spokesperson, Lisema Mapetla, the two experts were in the country three months ago to conduct coaching clinics for primary and high school learners. Mapetla said the training also targeted teachers so that they could continue with the programme in their absence. The experts, Mapetla said were

expected to arrive in Lesotho yesterday with the assessment set to start today and end on Sunday. “They were in Lesotho in February to launch the programme and they held a one-week workshop for teachers from primary and high schools, as well as conducting coaching clinics for pupils and students in both sporting codes,” Mapetla said in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday. Mapetla said the two foreign expects were invited to develop both sports from grassroots level, adding however that the two sporting codes were already being played in some local high schools. “But softball has attracted more players

than baseball. I believed this is because baseball is the more complex compare to softball,” he said. He added: “The LBSA has therefore requested technical assistance from the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC).” The assessment, Mapetla said would be made in a form of tournaments to be held at Maseru Club. “The programme is very crucial for the development of baseball and softball in the country. It is going to help us have many baseball teams to compete in the major league,” he said. At the moment, LBSA has only a softball major league.

Chess Olympiad Games squad unveiled NEO SENOKO

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ASERU – The Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) has named a robust team to represent the country at the upcoming 43rd Chess Olympiad Games scheduled for Batumi, Georgia. The squad, made up of five female players and their five male counterparts, is expected to bring medals home from the games in September. In a bid to better equip the team with skills, the federation has enlisted the services of an international coach just three months before the event. “We are going to engage an expert foreign coach who will enhance the team with the essential technical knowhow ahead of the tournament. In that way, we hope our

charges will do well in Batumi,” CFL acting president Tlhoriso Morienyane, said in an interview with Public Eye on Monday. The team comprises elite players such as Tokelo Klaas, Sechaba Khalema, Naleli Mcpherson and ’Maboloko Leboela. The expectation is that the quartet will guide their less experienced teammates like Theko Khanyapa, ’Malehloa Likhomo and Liteboho Mohatlane. Other members of the squad include Ramokotjo Lekau, ’Malillo Phera and Lieketseng Ngatane. The team was selected from a series of national tournaments and will also compete in other international events in South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique before leaving for Batumi in the next four months. “The regional tournament we will compete in shall among others grant us the

essential exposure that we need to boost our confidence before the major global show,” Morienyane said. Meanwhile the annual 2018 high school chess championships ended on a high note last week with St Stephen’s High School successfully defending their title, securing 30.5 points in the process. Methodist High School came second, registering 25.5 points followed by Leqele High School in with 24 points. Morienyane expressed his satisfaction at the growth of the sport in Lesotho, particularly through young people whose interest is normally developed in school competitions. “The tournament has been developing over the years and has produced a number of top players who are also some of the best in the country,” he said.


Public Eye

Friday May 11, 2018 23

Sport News

Local softball players at a tournament

A-Division teams battle for Top 8 spot NEO SENOKO MASERU - The A-Division Top 8 tournament comes to an end this weekend with the best four teams battling it out for the top honours after winning their quarter final stages. The Leribe-based outf it, Galaxy have gained automatic promotion to the premier league and take on Manonyane in the first semifinal tomorrow at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena. Lifofane will fight for the final

spot against Swallows, another side that has gained promotion to the elite league. This comes after all the four teams triumphed in the quarter final phase with Galaxy thumping Lithabaneng Golden 5-4 on penalties after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Roma based side Manonyane progressed to the semis following a 3-0 drubbing of Litšilo. In another game Lifofane beat the A-Division rookies Lijabatho 2-0 to advance to the semifinals

Football mourns Rankara’s death NTHAKO MAJORO

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ASERU – Top goal poacher Thabane Rankara is eulogized as one of the best strikers Lesotho has ever produced. R a n ka ra , 4 0, d i e d l a s t week Thursday at the Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital better known as Tšepong, after a long illness. Thabi, as the former LCS and Likuena striker was affectionately called by his teammates, first fell ill in September last year. LCS general team manager, Lehlohonolo Matlosa, said the late goal poacher’s contribution to the club’s trophy cabinet was immense. “A l l t h e m a j o r t ro p h i e s that LCS have, from the league champions, Top 8 Tournament and Independence Cup and Vodacom Soccer Spectacular, are through Rankara’s immense

contribution,” Matlosa said in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday. He said Rankara was LCS’ top goal scorer five times between 1998 when he joined Masheshena and 2015 when he hung up his soccer boots. “His work rate was amazing, about 90 percent of the team’s successes were through his efforts. He was also the premier league top goal scorer and has done national service for the senior team, Likuena,” he said. Former Likuena mentor, Mo n a h e n g D o c Mo nya n e described the late forward as a hard-working marksman. “He was a hard working player who knew how to utilise scoring opportunities. That was his best quality as a striker and every sensible coach would love to have him in his squad,” Monyane said. He said was very silent man

while Swallows registered an emphatic 3-1 victory over Ketane. Defending champions Swallows are keen to keep the momentum going this year and are prepared to go all out to retain the title. Swa l l ows h ea d c oa c h Lebohang Matobo is confident that his charges are more than ready to defend their title. “We know that all the teams are targeting us because we won the tournament last season and also because we had a very good who was very productive as a player. “I once called him up when I was Likuena’s head coach because he was one of the best strikers we had then,” he added. Katiso Mojakhomo, former LCS coach, described Rankara as the type of player who did not want to lose. “He was a kind of player who did not want to be defeated and was not easily beaten,” Mojakhomo said. “He was the top goalscorer in three different seasons, and that was the quality which saw him being called up into Likuena.” Before he joined LCS, Rankara played for Melele in the A Division and Mojakhomo scouted him into the top-flight league. “I started having an interest in him while he was an LCS recruit, at the time, I didn’t even know that he had played for Melele before. “After he joined us, he became the pillar of the team. So I was genuinely surprised when he was dropped out of the team after I stopped coaching LCS. The late footballer is survived by his wife and a son. At the time of going to print last night, the date of his funeral had not yet been announced.

season. So our approach to this games is simply to do everything possible to defend the trophy,” Matobo said in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday. Swallows take on Lifofane in the second semifinal tomorrow and the coach is not intimidated by the opponents despite the latter team’s outstanding performance against Lijabatho before they advanced to the semis. “We saw how they play and won against Lijabatho but I think we have a strong team that can go

all the way to the finals,” Matobo said. In spite of missing on a chance to be promoted to the elite league, the Roma-based outfit Manonyane have been dubbed favorites to clinch the title this year owing to the quality in their team. The team that is mentored by former Lioli assistant coach Thabile Secker finished fourth in the southern stream with 30 points. “We have played against Galaxy before and apart from that, we saw their game last week and noticed their weaknesses and I hope we will capitalise on such aspects to win the game and advance to the finals,” Secker also said. Besides Manonyane, the northern stream winners Galaxy have been dubbed as the second favourites to win the trophy based on their consistent form throughout the season. The team won the league with 39 points, losing only thrice in 18 league games. Head coach Thabang Staff Busa said his team might not be considered the best by most people but he showed his were willing to go all the way to the finals. “Most people are talking about Manonyane but I have noticed their weakest links and we will capitalise on them. What I can tell you now is that we are going to win by more than one goal against Manonyane. “They might be more experienced but that in itself does not amount to anything in this league as long as you are ready to fight,” Busa who is also former Matlama striker told Public Eye on Tuesday.

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