Date set for sea­son opener

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

THE M1.136 mil­lion 2016/17 Vo­da­com Pre­mier League sea­son roars into life on 28 Au­gust 2016, with 14 teams once again con­test­ing for the cham­pi­onship this sea­son.

Ac­cord­ing to Pre­mier League Gen­eral Man­ager, Baitsi Mot­samai, they ear­marked the week­end of 28 Au­gust, al­though the fix­ture list is yet to be fi­nalised.

“We iden­ti­fied 28 Au­gust as the day to start the new sea­son now that ev­ery­thing has been fi­nalised in­clud­ing the new spon­sor­ship deal from Vo­da­com Le­sotho (VCL),” said Mot­samai.

“The league is just fi­nal­is­ing a few is­sues be­fore an­nounc­ing the fix­tures for the new sea­son.”

The league’s new spon­sor­ship deal was un­veiled last week dur­ing the Vo­da­com Pre­mier League awards cer­e­mony.

The telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions giant in­creased its league spon­sor­ship from M1 mil­lion last sea­son to M1.136 mil­lion for the 2016/17 cam­paign.

Mot­samai said there were grate­ful to Vo­da­com Le­sotho for the spon­sor­ship, adding that the league had grown over the last two years.

“We are on the right track, and I think we fared well as the foot­ball com­mu­nity last sea­son,” he said.

“The other pos­i­tive for me is that there were no crowd trou­bles re­ported dur­ing our matches in the pre­vi­ous cam­paign. So, I think we are mak­ing progress.”

Mot­samai said a num­ber of ini­tia­tives would soon be im­ple­mented to im­prove the league.

“We are cur­rently pre­par­ing a man­ual that will guide our teams go­ing into the new sea­son to help them im­prove. There are a lot of re­forms in the pipe­line as part of ef­forts to bring trans­for­ma­tion and pro­fes­sion­al­ism into the league.”

He said it was a mat­ter of time be­fore the pre­mier league lands mega spon­sor­ship deals akin to the South African league.

“We will even­tu­ally get there, and I think it is just a mat­ter of chang­ing the mind-set of spon­sors to see the need to in­vest large amounts of money in foot­ball ac­tiv­i­ties,” Mot­samai said.

“I think we should work to­wards tele­vis­ing some of our league matches, even if it is not all of them. It is one of the ini­tia­tives in the pipe­line, as we in­tend to en­gage an in­ter­na­tional broad­caster so they can come on board.”

The new pre­mier league sea­son will see Sky Bat­tal­ion and Butha Buthe War­riors re­plac­ing rel­e­gated Mphat­lalat­sane and Lik­ila United.

Li­oli play­ers cel­e­brate after win­ning the Vo­da­com Pre­mier League in May.

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