Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
LESOTHO has pulled out of the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (Cossasa) track and field athletics championships set for the National Sports Stadium in Harare citing financial constraints.
The championships get underway tomorrow and end on Saturday.
The withdrawal by the Mountain Kingdom leaves four countries, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, in the competition as other Sadc countries continue to shun the event, which, however, is viewed as a stepping stone for future regional and international sportspersons.
“Lesotho has pulled out of this year’s championships as a result of financial constraints, but will be back for the ball games they are actually hosting later this year,” said vice-president of the National Association of School Heads (Nash) Arthur Maphosa.
The Botswana team was the first to arrive in the country on Monday and Maphosa indicated that Namibia and Malawi were expected to arrive yesterday in time for today’s accreditation.
“Botswana came into the country on Monday, while later today (yesterday) we expect Namibia and Malawi to also step into our borders. To avoid the hassle, accreditation for Botswana and Zimbabwe will have to be done today to have a smooth process tomorrow,” said Maphosa.
The championships will be officially opened by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora on Friday.
Zimbabwe have been in camp since April 19 at Queen Elizabeth High School in Harare and declared their intention of claiming a fifth victory in a row since the inception of the games.
The home team comprises 150 athletes, with National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe head coach Lisimati Pakamile in charge of the technical team.
“We are in high spirits as the hosts and are ready to defend our title,” said Maphosa.