Sigh of re­lief as Vo­da­com stays

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

Vo­da­com last week an­nounced a one-year ex­ten­sion of the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant’s premier league spon­sor­ship.

The com­pany re­leased the good news dur­ing Thurs­day night’s cer­e­mony to re­ward out­stand­ing play­ers and match of­fi­cials for the 2014/15 sea­son.

In ad­di­tion to the M1 mil­lion fund­ing, Vo­da­com also un­veiled some in­ter­est­ing ini­tia­tives as part of the pack­age aimed at help­ing our teams im­prove fi­nan­cially.

The in­no­va­tions are in the form of con­tain­ers, air­time, m-pesa and starter-pack worth M800 000 and will be given to all the 14 teams that would be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the premier league next sea­son.

Well, I know a lot of peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self, have called for im­proved spon­sor­ship and this is all be­cause we feel our league has out­grown the M1 mil­lion deal, but at the end of the day, half a loaf is bet­ter than noth­ing.

That is why I feel we should be very grate­ful to Vo­da­com for re­main­ing on board be­cause with­out their spon­sor­ship, our league was headed for a cri­sis.

I wit­nessed how our first di­vi­sion teams strug­gled last sea­son be­cause of lack of spon­sor­ship and I would not want to see the same hap­pen­ing to our main league, hence my ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Vo­da­com’s ges­ture. with the premier league’s big guns,” said Ntene.

ac­cord­ing to Ntene, Sun­dawana are cur­rently as­sess­ing Botswana’s arnold Sdun­kero Mata­lazi, who is from Lo­batse-based premier­ship side Ex­ten­sion Gun­ners. The cen­tral de­fender is 19 years of age and has rep­re­sented his coun­try at un­der-20 and un­der-23 level, but is yet to play for the se­nior team.

The am­bi­tious team, owned by pop­u­lar tra­di­tional healer Thato ‘Sun­dawana’ Nkone, will also as­sess play­ers from Ghana in the up­com­ing weeks. The club has also shown in­ter­est in for­mer Bantu midfielder mo­siuoa Boseka. The left-footed mid­field-mae­stro was re­leased by Bantu al­legedly for in­dis­ci­pline and has re­cently been train­ing with Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice Football Club who are un­der a new coach, mpitsa marai.

Mean­while, the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful team, Mat­lama be­gan their pre-sea­son yesterday un­der new coach Lehlo­honolo ‘Killer’ mokhele. Tse Put­soa parted ways with vet­eran coach Nte­bele Taole at the con­clu­sion of the 2014/15 sea­son and el­e­vated Mokhele to

I’m not even be­lit­tling the com­pany, but I guess they will also agree with me that M200 000 for the league’s win­ners is not enough con­sid­er­ing the ever-ris­ing cost of liv­ing.

My only hope is we are go­ing to the hot seat.

On the other hand, Le­sotho mount­e­dunted Po­lice Ser­vice and Li­oli have con­firmedd that they are dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of Tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane and Ba­sia Makepe join­ingng the po­lice team. Both Se­tu­ru­mane and makepekepe are cur­rently train­ing to be po­lice of­fi­cerss and are set to grad­u­ate this month.

The two play­ers missed the se­con­dond round of the premier league sea­son, but still till Mosholu ‘Shoes’ Mokhothu’s side man­agedaged to win the cham­pi­onship.am­pi­onship. On their part, newly pro­moted Liphakoe say they y have not made change­shanges to their tech­ni­cal hni­cal team and that in­ex­pe­ri­enced Kal­laela a Tseka re­mains the head-coach.

Club sec­re­tary, rorisang Mo­suoe,uoe, told the Le­sotho Times that Tseka re­mains ns in charge of the team de­spite his lack of premieremier league ex­pe­ri­ence.

Liphakoe is the home team of the club-less Shale, who once coached them when they were in the lower di­vi­sion. an­oth­er­her re­union re­mains a pos­si­bil­ity as he also started his play­ing ca­reer at the Quthing-basedsed side. see the spon­sor­ship in­creased the next time around, along­side prizes for in­di­vid­ual awards, whose high­est was m2 000.

I would be very happy to see our play­ers pocket at least M20 000 for win­ning the foot­baller-of-the-sea- son award the same way Vo­da­com has been so gen­er­ous in other com­pe­ti­tions such as the pre­sen­ter’s search where in­di­vid­u­als re­cently won m20 000 for their hard work.

Like many ex­perts have been say­ing, our na­tional team can only get bet­ter if our league is sta­ble and com­pet­i­tive.

all in all, I’m very happy that Vo­da­com has re­warded ex­celling play­ers for the past three sea­sons, and while they might not be that hefty, they still bring smiles to the faces of the win­ners.

With that said, I would want to con­clude my col­umn with men­tion of our na­tional team, Likuena, who have a moun­tain to climb against Botswana this week­end in Gaborone.

The two teams would be play­ing the sec­ond leg of the african Na­tions cham­pi­onship (chan) pre­lim­i­nary round qual­i­fier on Satur­day af­ter the first-leg fix­ture ended goal­less at Set­soto Sta­dium a fort­night ago.

Likuena have been rocked by scan­dals once again since that medi­ocre draw with star player, Tšoanelo Koe­tle, among the play­ers dropped due to in­dis­ci­pline. The player, we are told, de­cided to go drink­ing in­stead of re­turn­ing to camp last week.

Like I said pre­vi­ously, the writ­ing had been on the wall that all was not well in the Likuena camp.

The fact that so many play­ers de­cide to go on a drink­ing spree just days af­ter be­ing re­leased to see their fam­i­lies tells a story of a bro­ken dress­ing room.

This has led to coach Seep­hephe Matete mak­ing a num­ber of changes and we are all wait­ing to see how the team will re­spond in the sec­ond leg match set for Gaborone.

The pride of the coun­try will be at stake and our hope is that they can bounce back strongly and beat the ze­bras in their own backyard when we least ex­pect it.

I would also like to wish our na­tional rugby team, Lika­tola, the best of luck in their match against Swaziland set for Bam­batha Tšita arena this Satur­day.

Bantu midfielder Mo­siuoa Boseka. Li­oli winger tšepo Se­tu­ru­mane

From left: LEFA Vice Pres­i­dent Khiba Mo­hoanyane, Premier League Pro Mos­ito Lekholoa and VCL Ex­ec­u­tive Head of M-com­merce Johnny Dos San­tos present a cheque dur­ing 201415 Vo­da­com Premier League awards at Maseru Sun last Thurs­day.

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