MAFETENG outfit and the 2017/18 Premier League champions, Bantu, are set to grace the annual Alliance Winter Challenge for the second time after debuting the tournament two years ago.
This was announced during the launch of the fifth edition of the tournament in Maseru this week.
Bantu will join three Premier League teams sponsored by Alliance Insurance Company namely Matlama, LCS and the defending champions Lioli.
A Matšo Matebele will be making a second appearance in this tournament after they were first invited two years ago.
Lioli will kick off the tournament against LCS while Bantu play Matlama in the second semifinal on the 31 August. The final is scheduled for 1 September at Setsoto Stadium.
Alliance sales manager Limakatso Moqobocho said they have organised a series of events prior to the tournament lined up in celebration of the milestones they achieved.
Mokobocho also said they would also have prize monies for the winner this year.
“This year we will be celebrating our fifth year since the inception of this tournament so we want to celebrate it in style,” Mokobocho said.
“We already have a series of events lined up in the build up to these games and we will soon announce them. We will also give the winners monetary prizes this year,” Mokobocho said.
Mokobocho said the reason for which the tournament will be played late this year is that they want to accommodate players who are part of the senior national team Likuena who will be playing South Africa this month in the CHAN qualifiers. The first leg will be played at Setsoto Stadium on the weekend of 28 July with the return fixture scheduled for a week later in South Africa.
“We had initially proposed early dates but we couldn’t continue because Likuena will be playing this month and next month so we had to accommodate their games.”
Speaking on behalf of the three teams that are sponsored by Alliance, Lioli general manager Hlalele Matobako said they invited Bantu because of its huge support base.
“This tournament is where we prepare our teams before the season starts and also it helps us in raising some revenue through gate takings to help us in our day to day running of the teams.
“Bantu has a huge support base and they also have a strong team, which we believe will help teams like Matlama who are preparing for the Champions League next season,” Hlalele said.
Bantu vice president Molefi Lengoasane accepted the invite and said they would come in force.
“We appreciate the invitation and welcome it with both hands. We are looking forward to the challenge and we promise to also ensure that the tournament is a success,” Lengoasane said.
In the first year of the tournament, Liphakoe were the guests, followed by Sandawana a season later. Bantu were third on the list while last year Swallows were the guests.