Gi­ants avoid each other in Top8

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LNIG Top8 ti­tle hold­ers Bantu must have heaved a sigh of re­lief af­ter they were drawn against strug­gling lik­ila United for the quar­ter­fi­nal of this year’s edi­tion of the an­nual tour­na­ment.

li­oli, who won the an­nual tour­na­ment in 2014, also had a rel­a­tively easy draw as they were pit­ted against sun­dawana, while likhopo were drawn against lcs and LDF ver­sus Mat­lama in the other quar­ter­fi­nal fix­tures. The draw was con­ducted at Bam­batha Tšita sports arena.

The first legs of the quar­ter­fi­nal matches take place on 30 and 31 Jan­uary at dif­fer­ent venues, with the re­turn fix­tures set for 20-21 Fe­bru­ary at the same venue.

The semi­fi­nals of the tour­na­ment are set for 9 April and the fi­nal the fol­low­ing day also at set­soto.

Win­ners of the com­pe­ti­tion, spon­sored by in­sur­ance com­pany LNIG, will walk away M100 000 richer—the same amount they pock­eted last year.

The run­ners-up will take home M80 000, while teams that take third and fourth place re­ceive M60 000 and M50 000, re­spec­tively. Teams that fail to progress past the quar­ter­fi­nal stage would re­ceive M30 000.

Just like in 2015, this year’s edi­tion of the tour­na­ment would also fea­ture a leg­ends com­pe­ti­tion for all the par­tic­i­pat­ing sides which qual­i­fied for the event by virtue of end­ing last sea­son in the ‘top eight’ on the 14-team premier league ta­ble .

speak­ing at Tues­day’s draw, LNIG Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, le­bo­hang Rale­tooane, said the com­pany’s re­la­tion­ship with the Premier league Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee (PLMC) re­mained strong, hence the re­newal of the spon­sor­ship.

“We are still to­gether with the premier league, which is why we will con­tinue to spon­sor this tour­na­ment,” Rale­tooane said.

“We have made a com­mit­ment to lo­cal foot­ball and our goal is still the same, which is to help the game im­prove.

‘We started spon­sor­ing this tour­na­ment in 2014 with a to­tal prize money of M300 000, but the league made a re­quest to in­crease it to M600 000 last year. We heeded that plea be­cause of the suc­cess of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“There was an­other plea to in­crease the money again this year but un­for­tu­nately, by the time the re­quest was made, we had al­ready fi­nalised our bud­gets. How­ever, we will look into the re­quest next year. We are happy with how things have gone so far de­spite some mi­nor chal­lenges.”

on his part, premier league boss, John leuta, ex­pressed grat­i­tude

for the spon­sor­ship.

“We are very grate­ful to LNIG for their con­tin­ued sup­port to foot­ball and our clubs, with this com­pe­ti­tion,” leuta said.

“Part of our re­spon­si­bil­ity as a league, is to make sure there are com­pe­ti­tions for our teams and this is why there could be a fourth com­pe­ti­tion for our clubs in the near fu­ture.

“Noth­ing has re­ally changed from last year’s com­pe­ti­tion as it is still spon­sored by LNIG to the tune of M600 000 and the win­ners will still walk away with M100 000.

“all par­tic­i­pat­ing clubs are go­ing to be pro­vided with a kit, while those that make it to the semi­fi­nals will get an­other set of uni­forms.”

leuta also ex­plained that in­clud­ing a com­pe­ti­tion for leg­ends in the pack­age was a way of at­tract­ing a big­ger crowd to the games. The league, he added, was also con­sid­er­ing stag­ing the semi­fi­nal matches out of Maseru.

LNIG Top8 quar­ter­fi­nal fix­tures at a glance

lcs v likhopo, LDF v Mat­lama, li­oli v sun­dawana, lik­ila v Bantu

Bantu cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning last year’s LNIG Top8 tour­na­ment.

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