THE Matekane Group of Companies last week announced that it would hold a sports extravaganza that will come in the form of a soccer tournament as and a half marathon race.
This will be part of the Sam Matekane owned company’s celebrations in Thaba-Tseka, where the company is set to open a school as part of its social corporate initiative (CSI) through its Mantšonyane project.
There is no doubt that is a massive development for the Thaba-Tseka community as MGC has already built a church for the same community while the school has a big sports facility which will accommodate different sporting codes like soccer, netball, basketball and volleyball.
Ntate Matekane deserves praise for giving back to his community through such massive developments that will help the people of Mantšonyane, especially the youth, while also creating employment for the masses.
Despite this massive celebration that will involve four of the Premier League’s big guns like Bantu, Matlama, Lioli and Kick4Life, it was however disappointing to learn that the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) was sidelined in the preparation for the tournament.
But I have since learnt that the two parties are now working together to make the tournament a success.
In the same way, I think the PLMC also deserves praise for the way that they handled the whole matter because I have no doubt that the tournament is going to benefit the four teams immensely since they will share the gate takings from the semi-finals. The same applies to the two sides that will advance to the next stage of the competition to be played in Mantšonyane.
The two teams that will be heading to Thaba-Tseka will be joined by two other two teams from the lower division and will each pocket M100 000 in appearance fees.
While there have been questions about the criteria used in selecting the Premier League teams playing in the competition, it’s obvious that this is an invitational tournament that will be graced by the top three namely Bantu, Lioli and Matlama as well as Kick4Life, who have proved themselves as a growing force in domestic football over the last three seasons.
My only interest in the sports extravaganza is to see the Cheletsane Marathon becoming as big as the High-Altitude Summer Marathon and attract not only the best runners in the country, but those from the outside the country.
In the same way, I want make a plea to MGC and Ntate Matekane to return to football full time as he has previously bankrolled the Top8 competition which is now being sponsored by the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG).
It’s evident that there is a shortage of sponsors in local football as the A division has been running for years without a sponsor while there is also need to have another cup competition for top flight teams.
That could come in the form of an FA Cup which will feature premier league and lower division clubs and be played in the same format of the Emirates Cup in England as well as the Nedbank Cup in South Africa.
Such a competition that will open doors for younger players in the lower divisions and expose them to be selected for national teams.
I know Ntate Matekane is passionate about giving back to his country and also making a meaningful contribution like he has already done in his home area. But I have a feeling that improving the Cheletsane Marathon so that it grows as big as some of the marathon races on the continent such as the Soweto Marathon and others, can go a long way in making Mantšonyane famous and open up channels for development.
It will also benefit his community as the demand for facilities things like accommodation will always be high.
A bigger football tournament could also go a long way towards uplifting the standards of the beautiful game in the country and hopefully, with its final played in his home town every year.