Wind­fall for Uhuru tour­ney win­ners

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

WIN­NERS of this year’s In­de­pen­dence Cup will re­ceive an ex­tra M50 000 in­cen­tive as part of the coun­try’s 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, bring­ing the to­tal prize money to M150 000.

How­ever, as in 2015, the run­ners-up will get M60 000 with the third and fourth­placed teams get­ting M40 000 and M30 000 re­spec­tively.

The new de­vel­op­ments for the an­nual two-day tour­na­ment were an­nounced by the spon­sors Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank (SLB) and Met­ro­pol­i­tan Le­sotho at the launch held at Bam­batha Tšita Sports Arena yes­ter­day.

Bantu won last year’s tour­na­ment but will not be able to de­fend their ti­tle af­ter fail­ing to se­cure a top four fin­ish in the 2015/16 sea­son. Only the top four teams par­tic­i­pate in the tour­na­ment and this year’s con­tes­tants will be Li­oli, Mat­lama, LCS and Sun­dawana.

Li­oli were drawn against Sun­dawana with Mat­lama play­ing LCS for a place in the fi­nal.

Ad­dress­ing a me­dia brief­ing, Met­ro­pol­i­tan Le­sotho Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Nkau Matete, said they had in­creased spon­sor­ship in re­sponse to a plea by the pre­mier league to make this year tour­na­ment spe­cial in recog­ni­tion of the 50th an­niver­sary of the coun­try’s in­de­pen­dence.

“Since the coun­try is cel­e­brat­ing a mile­stone, we were ap­proached by the pre­mier league to make this year’s tour­na­ment spe­cial with in­creased prize money and we promised to think about it,” he said.

He said af­ter con­sult­ing the co-spon­sor, SLB, they re­solved to in­crease the spon­sor- ship by M200 000, adding this was done to “mo­ti­vate the play­ers and recog­nise the 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions”.

“We are happy that so far the tour­na­ment has lived up to ex­pec­ta­tions. It has been well re­ceived and sup­ported through­out the years and we are very thank­ful,” he added.

SLB Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mpho Vum­bukani con­curred with Mr Matete, say­ing: “We also in­creased the prize money for the in­di­vid­ual awards and trust this will im­prove the level of com­pe­ti­tion among the teams.

Pre­mier league chair­man John Leuta said they had en­joyed a cor­dial re­la­tion­ship with the co-spon­sors for the past six years.

“We would not be where we are to­day with­out their spon­sor­ship and their love for Le­sotho,” he said.

He re­vealed that un­like in pre­vi­ous years, when the com­pe­ti­tion would be held on the first week­end of Oc­to­ber, this time it would be staged on the 22nd and 23rd.

Leuta said since it was an im­por­tant year for the coun­try, they had come up with a con­cept to prove the pre­mier league cared about the peo­ple and pro­moted the im­age of the tour­na­ment spon­sors.

“This is why for this year’s tour­na­ment we will also give back to our com­mu­ni­ties,” he said

“Each of the four clubs will get M10 000 to give or spend on char­ity work of their choice in their com­mu­nity. Whether they spend it on an or­phan­age or main­tain­ing a school, it is up to them.”

He also re­vealed the pre­mier league and the spon­sors would visit the home dis­tricts of all four teams start­ing with Sun­dawana in Butha-buthe this month.

In­de­pen­dence cup cham­pi­ons, Bantu FC cel­e­brate their vic­tory in this file pic­ture.

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