The Lesotho Volleyball Team bided to host the Zone 6 Volleyball Championship and was granted an opportunity to host the prestigious games.
Events such as sporting activities can attract a multitude of visitors and enhance the brand image and promotion of the destination.
Events do not only provide stellar performance to spectators but economic spin-offs on host economies.
The event brought benefits like job creation, visitor spending and selling of food, refreshments and artefacts are various ways local economies can benefit from hosting events.
The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho hosted the scintillating Zone 6 Volleyball Championship games from December 9-16, 2023, and more than 1500 visitors including players and sporting officials. Competing teams were from 10 countries thus Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The tournament was represented by 22 Athletes from both male and female counterparts.
Present to grace the opening and closing of the games included dignitaries like Minister of Tourism, Sports, Arts and Culture- Hon. Motlatsi Maqelepo, LDF Commander- Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli, British High Commissioner to Lesotho, Mr. Harry MacDonald, Lesotho Sports and Recreational Commission (LSRC) President, Mr Litšitso Motšeremeli, Lesotho National Olympic Committee President, Mr. Tlali Rampoana, Zone 6 President from Mozambique, Mr. Khalid Cassam, Vice President Administration: Lesotho National Olympic Committee- Mr. Letsatsi Ntsibolane, Confédération Africaine de Volleyball (CAVB), President representative from Botswana, Mr Daniel Moalosi, CAVB Vice President from Zimbabwe, Mr. Fredrick Ndlovu and high-ranking officials from Lesotho and visiting countries.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Tourism Sports, Arts and Culture, Hon. Motlatsi Maqelepo explained that it is a remarkable feat for Lesotho to host the prestigious Zone 6 Volleyball games.
“I am overwhelmed with how people have passion for the sport whilst Christmas is nearing but sacrificed their time and money to give Basotho a highly competitive volleyball game,” noted the Minister.
“Your visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho is going to leave financial footprints, it is not only about volleyball, but your numbers have also increased tally of tourism,” he said.
Hon. Maqelepo said by hosting the games, Lesotho has hit two birds with one stone, promoted tourism and injected money into the country’s economy.
The British High Commissioner to Lesotho, Mr. Harry MacDonald commended the strides made by the Minister in a short time in office and his endeavour to develop Sports and tourism.
“I would want to see some of the athletes competing in the Olympic Games and become champions,” Mr. MacDonald said, saying the enthusiasm and ecstasy demonstrated especially by the Maputo team poignantly carrying their flags manifested a desire to win.
In his remarks, the President of Zone 6, Mr. Khalid Cassam applauded the Lesotho government for hosting the games.
“Hosting 22 men and women teams from 10 countries in one Zone is an achievement and also a dream come true,” the President said.
Also speaking, the LSRC President, Mr. Litšitso Motšeremeli conveyed his gratitude to sponsors and all those who worked tirelessly to make the event a success.
In the men’s category the onslaught was between Green Buffalos of Zambia and Naba of Zimbabwe and the defending Champions Green Buffalos of Zambia were victorious in the male competition and walked away with a cheque of M45,700.00. In the female group, the encounter was between Kutwlano of Botswana and Up Maputo of Mozambique. The Up Maputo of Mozambique were winners in the female category and scooped a prize money of M45,700.00.
For Lesotho teams, Redskins in the male competition reached 12th Position whereas in the female competition, Lepereng Oasis got the 7th position respectively. Joy and jubilation reigned as fans and players cheered ecstatically when the awards were granted to winners in their respective categories.
On a site interview with one participant from Botswana, Uteng Machede said she had the most pleasurable stay in Lesotho, however, due to a tight game schedule she did not have enough time to tour the city.
“I am more fascinated to learn more about the monarchy of Lesotho and plan to visit the Royal Palace, sightsee and experience the activities that are offered in Lesotho.”
“I am humbled by the humility and hospitality demonstrated by the host nation,” noted Ms. Machede.
In his closing remarks, the Vice President Administration of the Lesotho National Olympic Committee, Mr. Letsatsi Ntsibolane said a journey throughout this tournament has been a testament to the spirit of competition, sportsmanship, and friendship that define sport.
“I want to extend my deepest appreciation to the dedicated athletes who have demonstrated their skills and passion on the playground. Your hard work, perseverance and commitment have not only entertained us but have also inspired us all,’’ stressed the Director.
In closing, he conveyed his gratitude to all the teams that participated in these memorable games, saying “let us rejoice in the feats of every player, coach, and supporter who has contributed to the success of this tournament. “May the bonds forged here last, and the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play continue to guide us in all our future endeavours,” he remarked.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.