Alliance Winter Challenge is back
FOLLOWING a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the four-team Alliance Winter Challenge is finally bouncing back on 27 and 28 August 2022.
The fifth edition of the pre-season mini tournament was launched this week in Maseru.
Alliance told the media during the launch that the defending champions, Lioli, would take on LCS while league champions, Matlama will lock horns with the tournament debutants, Linare in the second semi-final on 27 August at Maputsoe DIFA Ground.
The semi-final winners will face off in the final the following day to battle for the M25 000 winning prize.
The tournament is played by Alliance Insurance-sponsored Premier League teams.
In the past, there were only three teams namely, LCS, Matlama and Lioli and Alliance would every year invite a team of its choice to the tournament.
Teams such as Bantu, the now defunct Sandawana and Swallows have in the past been invited for the competition.
New Lioli coach, Bob Mafoso, said they were ready to defend their title and would use the tournament to prepare for the 2022/23 season.
Mafoso said their target was excel in the tournament and boost his charges’ confidence before the new season.
“It is going to be a difficult challenge for us because we are a relatively new team,” Mafoso said.
“It is even more difficult because we are the defending champions.
“This is a cup which the supporters are expecting to win, and it is important to bag it as that will give our players confidence heading into the new season. However, we are aware that it is not going to be easy because other teams also want it, and they wouldn’t want us to win it consecutively.”
Mafoso said he was happy with the preparations for the tournament which will present him with an opportunity to weigh his side’s readiness for the new season.
“In terms of the preparations we are satisfied because we are preparing for the league season. If we win it, we will get into the league with confidence, and it should also be our chance to measure how far we have gone with preparing for the new season. We will also get a chance to identify the areas which are supposed to improve on.
“It gives a chance to our new players to get a feel of what playing for Lioli is like before the fans.”
Alliance Insurance Company manager public relations and corporate communications, Limakatso Mokobocho, told the media this week that the tournament was to promote and improve local football.
“We want to help the soccer teams that work with Alliance to prepare for the season that will start after the tournament,” Mokobocho said.
Just like other companies that were affected by Covid-19, Alliance was not an exception. However, she said she pleased that the company could still sponsor soccer teams and give them allowances.