Wel­come on board Econet

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

TELECOM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS giants, Econet Tele­com Lesotho, re­turned in style as the spon­sors of the coun­try’s premier football league which has since been re­branded to be­come the Econet Premier League (EPL).

They re­turn to football eight years af­ter mak­ing way for Vo­da­com Lesotho who also played their part by be­com­ing the first mil­lion mal­oti spon­sors.

For their part, Econet have be­come the first to pour M2 mil­lion spon­sor­ship per sea­son for the next three years and as the football fra­ter­nity, we can­not be any­thing but grate­ful to the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies whose healthy ri­valry con­tin­ues to be a boon for football in the coun­try.

Econet’s lat­est spon­sor­ship deal also comes with at­trac­tive in­cen­tives that in­clude monthly in­di­vid­ual awards for dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing Player of the Month.

The awards will cer­tainly in­cen­tivise all those con­nected with our football from play­ers, ref­er­ees and even jour­nal­ists.

This can only be a good thing which will aid the growth and fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the sport to a point where our beloved Likuena na­tional side will no longer be the whip­ping boys on the con­ti­nent.

These are the kind of in­cen­tives that this column and its sis­ter column in our sis­ter Sun­day Ex­press pub­li­ca­tion have led the way in ask­ing for. And I salute Econet for heed­ing our pleas with in­cen­tives which will no doubt in­crease the level of com­pe­ti­tion in our league.

The ball is now in the court of the play­ers and the Premier League Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee (PMLC) and it is up to them to en­sure that football con­tin­ues to move in the di­rec­tion of ex­cel­lent com­pe­ti­tion and the kind of pro­fes­sion­al­ism that can only at­tract even more spon­sor­ship.

Pro­fes­sion­al­ism means that we will move away from the sce­nario where a team like Linare had only eleven play­ers avail­able for their league opener against Ma­jan­tja on Sun­day.

It is sad to see such a de­vel­op­ment par­tic­u­larly from Linare who have been around for more than 85 years and they and Mat­lama are the only teams that have never been rel­e­gated from top flight football.

Poor man­age­ment has blighted Linare to the ex­tent that they have gone over three decades with­out win­ning a ma­jor tro­phy.

I had hoped that af­ter sign­ing a few ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers the team will com­pete bet­ter but I was left dis­ap­pointed by their sham­bolic prepa­ra­tions which left them with just 11 play­ers el­i­gi­ble to play in the opener.

Econet’s spon­sor­ship should mo­ti­vate them and other clubs to­wards greater pro­fes­sion­al­ism as it should also mo­ti­vate good be­hav­iour in the thou­sands of sup­port­ers who throng the sta­dia to show their love for their teams.

No more must hooli­gan­ism rear its ugly head as it did last sea­son to the ex­tent that some­one was killed in the match in­volv­ing Li­oli and Mat­lama.

The same ap­plies to those match of­fi­cials who played their part in bring­ing the game into dis­re­pute.

For the sake of the beau­ti­ful game and fair play, I hope the ref­er­ees and their as­sis­tants will do their work prop­erly and shun bribes some have been known to ac­cept to get them to in­flu­ence the out­come of the matches.

This is the EPL and in­ci­den­tally that is the acro­nym for the more fa­mous English Premier League. I hope that ours will strive to achieve the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of its more il­lus­tri­ous coun­ter­part which is now the rich­est football league in the world.

from left: Econet Tele­com Lesotho CEO Leon de fleu­riot, Sports min­is­ter Ka­belo ma­fura, Lefa pres­i­dent Sale­mane Phafane and PLMC chair­per­son Leuta Leuta.

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