Windfall for Uhuru tourney winners
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.