Best Brew League unites SADC re­gion

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mo­halenyane Phakela/mikia Kalati

THE in­au­gu­ral two-day Cas­tle Lager Best Brew League foot­ball tour­na­ment in the North West prov­ince of South Africa lived up to the hype, giv­ing par­tic­i­pants a mem­o­rable time dur­ing which they rubbed shoul­ders with re­gional soc­cer leg­ends.

The ini­tia­tive which drew par­tic­i­pants from Le­sotho, Botswana, Zim­babwe and Zam­bia was launched in May to cel­e­brate friend­ship among Cas­tle Lager con­sumers in South­ern africa.

It fea­tured reg­u­lar peo­ple in a five-aside tour­na­ment and these were se­lected af­ter qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ments in their home coun­tries.

In Le­sotho, Ma­luti Moun­tain Brew­ery (MMB) part­nered with the leg­endary Lehlo­honolo Seema, the am­bas­sador of the 2017 edi­tion of the COSAFA CUP tour­na­ment to select six play­ers to rep­re­sent the Moun­tain king­dom.

Philadelphia of Ha Thetsane in Maseru got the nod to rep­re­sent Le­sotho in South Africa af­ter beat­ing teams from seven other dif­fer­ent bars in Maseru.

Seema was joined in South Africa by other re­gional leg­ends such as Ti­nashe nen­go­masha (Zim­babwe), Siza Dlamini (Swazi­land), Brian Baloyi (South Africa), Dipsy Selol­wane (Botswana) and Rot­son Kil­ambe (Zam­bia).

The leg­ends coached their coun­tries also took to the field along­side their coun­try­men from the quar­ter­fi­nal stage of the Best Brew League.

Cas­tle Lager Africa Brand Man­ager, Thomas Lawrence said the tour­na­ment aimed to fos­ter friend­ship among african coun­tries while de­vel­op­ing foot­ball over a drink of Cas­tle Lager.

“As it all comes to­gether with a Cas­tle, this is one of the african brand’s mar­ket- ing strate­gies aimed at bring­ing africans to­gether in a fun-filled en­vi­ron­ment,” Lawrence said.

“We did re­search be­fore launch­ing this cam­paign and re­alised that five-aside foot­ball has not de­vel­oped in Africa al­though it has be­come in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised.

“The idea is to give play­ers the pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery year start­ing with this cur­tain raiser and based on the mood and re­sponse here it shows that it is work­ing.

“it does not end here and our big dream is to get more peo­ple in­volved across the conti- nent.”

The tour­na­ment was held at Royal Bafo­keng Sports Ground and it kicked off on Satur­day morn­ing with teams be­ing bro­ken into two groups. Zam­bia and South Africa each had two teams to bring the to­tal to eight teams. Le­sotho’s first match against Zam­bia ended in a one-all draw. They then played out an­other draw with Zam­bian team be­fore beat­ing Zim­babwe 2-1 to fin­ish sec­ond in the group.

Al­though they lost 2-1 to Botswana in the quar­ter fi­nals on Sun­day, Le­sotho’s per­for- mance aroused so much at­ten­tion be­cause they were the only team that did not lose to even­tual cham­pi­ons Zam­bia who beat Botswana in the fi­nals.

Some even jok­ingly asked whether if Le­sotho had not brought its se­nior Likuena na­tional team to the tour­na­ment.

The fun and fes­tiv­i­ties con­tin­ued af­ter the matches with par­tic­i­pants be­ing treated to gen­er­ous serv­ings of Cas­tle Lager and mu­sic at the lo­cal Lucky’s Pub, where leg­endary South african disc spin­ner Glen Lewis played un­til late into the night.

The teams even­tu­ally parted ways on Mon­day morn­ing and by then, most had ex­changed con­tact de­tails and made plans to each other.

One of the Team Le­sotho mem­bers, Te­boho Khanare said the Best Brew League was a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity that he will for­ever cher­ish.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence from when I left my coun­try on Thurs­day is some­thing I will cher­ish for­ever,” Khanare said, adding he was en­cour­aged to start a five-aside league in Le­sotho.

“I never in my life imag­ined that I would get a chance to talk to the likes of Selol­wane of Botswana be­cause those were peo­ple I had only seen on tele­vi­sion.

“It was also nice meet­ing peo­ple from other coun­tries and mak­ing friends,” he said.

The Le­sotho team also fea­tured for­mer Likuena cap­tain and cur­rent LCS as­sis­tant coach, Khoto Sesing.

Sesing said the five-aside com­pe­ti­tion was an en­joy­able but dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to that he had when he rep­re­sented Le­sotho in dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions such as the africa Cup of Na­tions, World Cup qual­i­fiers as well as the COSAFA Cup.

Le­sotho Cas­tle Lager Best Brew League foot­ball rep­re­sen­ta­tives in a group por­trait dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

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