Independence Cup gets M200 000 boost

MASERU – Metropolitan Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank have joined hands to bankroll this year’s Independence Cup to the tune of M200 000.

The decision was announced at the cup’s official launch on Tuesday.

The tournament will take place on October 1-2 at Setsoto Stadium.

Winners of the cup are set to walk away M25 000 richer while the runners-up, third and fourth placed teams will each get M18 000, M14 000 and M10 000 respectively.

The four clubs that are set to lock horns in the tournament are Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS), Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Bantu and Linare.

Metropolitan Lesotho managing director, Nkau Matete, told the press conference that their sponsorship is aimed at helping unite the nation during the independence holidays.

Lesotho celebrates its 45th independence on October 4.

“It is our objective that the old warmth and strength Basotho used to share during independence ceremonies is translated into this tournament,” Matete said.

“This (tournament) must also be used to celebrate and understand the meaning of independence in our country.”

Matete said both companies were hoping that other companies would follow suit and help in the development of sports by sponsoring tournaments like this one.

The competition was previously sponsored by local construction company Nthane Brothers.

Standard Lesotho Bank managing director, Mpho Vumbukani, said he was happy that local companies were working together and eager to develop local football.

“We are very grateful that both companies are in this together and thus helping develop football in the country.

“Soccer is the most celebrated and popular sport in our country and we are happy to announce that we’ve decided to associate ourselves with it,” Vumbukani said.

Vumbukani challenged the four competing teams to ensure that the games are violence-free for the sake of spectators.

Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) first vice-president, Tlholo Letete, assured both companies that they will strive for transparency in the running of the game.

“We welcome Standard Lesotho Bank in the football fraternity family and what we now need to do as Lefa is to step on the shoulders of these two giants,” Letete said.

“We can assure you that this investment will reap the most suitable rewards and that Lefa is (eager) to work in a transparent manner,” he said.

On the first day of the tournament, Linare will lock horns with LCS while LDF will face Mafeteng side Bantu.

The two winning teams from each group will clash in the finals the following day while the losers will square off in the third and fourth place-off.

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