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No progress without programmes – Chess VP

Nov. 28, 2019 2 min read

TEYATEYANENG – The African Chess Confederation (ACC) Vice-president, Bernard Wanjala, says no progress can be realised if there are no programmes to guide the sport through required processes in Africa. This he said at a function to mark the closure of the Zone 4.5 Under-16 Youth Chess Championship held at the Blue Mountain Inn in Berea on Tuesday, during which he advised that no federation could grow without structures to develop juniors.

“No federation can develop unless it has the capacity to develop its juniors.  Chess is a sport that relies heavily on passion and the ACC is working hard to ensure that it is included in the Olympics and other African international sports competitions.

At the same event, the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) spokesperson, Teboho Rakhomo, congratulated the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) for hosting a successful event and applauded all participants for gracing the competition.

Officially closing the occasion, tourism minister, Chief Joang Molapo, noted that financial support from government had not been forthcoming for chess activities just as in other sports codes.  He further congratulated the winners and all the participants. 

Chief Molapo is the first Mosotho to get an international chess title and he is currently the country’s chess patron.  In an interview with Metro, the Botswana team coach, Mokwaledi Tingwane, appreciated the organisation of the event which he described as world class.

Tingwane said that he had brought an inexperienced team with only two experienced girls who he selected to balance the lineup. “We assembled the team only last week Monday when we got permission from the parents of the players,” he said, adding that their win was due to the fact that they were more determined.  In another interview Team Lesotho player, Lebajoa Tšephe, described the tournament as a learning curve for them as Lesotho players.

Tšephe said he used to apply less effort when playing against his age mates compared to playing against his seniors.  “We learned a lot from this competition and I personally discovered that I should apply more effort when playing against my age mates as well,” he said. 

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For his part, team Lesotho coach, Palamo Makhele said his charges were still young and were easily affected psychologically due to failure to camp and prepare thoroughly.

Nine other countries were expected to participate in the tournament but only three showed up, being Botswana, Malawi and Eswatini. Others sent apologies at the eleventh hour, and as a result planned fixtures were rescheduled and Team Lesotho was allowed to provide a third team to make the competition a round robin of five rounds.

Botswana emerged victors, bagging Gold Medals, Team Lesotho A received Silver Medals in second place while Team Lesotho B was in third place and received Bronze Medals as well as other gifts that included a tablet.

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