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Independence tournament postponed

by Lesotho Times
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independenceMikia Kalati

The premier league management has postponed this year’s edition of the four-team independence football tournament by three weeks.

According to the league’s general manager, Baitsi Motsamai, the two-day event had to be rescheduled due to the commitments of the national team, Likuena. The national side leaves on 4 October for a 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Comoros—the day the Independence Cup final was supposed to be played.

Lioli, Bantu, LCS and Matlama are contesting this year’s tournament, which involves the top-four teams from the previous season’s premier league campaign.

Lioli beat Matlama 11-10 on penalties to win the Cup last year. However, with Likuena dominated by players from these four premier league giants, the tournament had to be moved to another date to ensure it remains competitive.

“We have postponed the tournament from 3-4 October to 7 November, with the final and third-place playoff matches set for 8 November,” Motsamai said.

“This was done to accommodate the national team’s two matches against the Comoros and also make sure the contesting sides have their best players for the Independence Cup. It was felt since these teams contribute several players to Likuena, the tournament would not be that competitive without them hence all stakeholders agreed to postpone it.”

Lesotho gained independence from Britain on 4 October 1966, and the tournament forms part of celebrations marking his day. On the other hand, Likuena play the Comoros away on 8 October, with the second leg scheduled for Setsoto Stadium five days later.

“We had to identify another dates for the tournament and the most appropriate was the beginning of November,” said Motsamai.

“I don’t think the postponement will have any negative effect on the tournament and just like previous editions, I expect everything to go according to plan again this time around.”

The Independence Cup is co-sponsored by Metropolitan Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank to the tune of M1, 8 million through a three-year contract signed last season.

The winner of the Cup takes home M100 000, while the runners-up, third and fourth-place sides pocket M60 000, M40 000 and 30 000, respectively.

The competition also has individual awards such as goalkeeper, player and top goal scorer of the tournament whose winners get M1500 each. There is also M1000 for the outstanding player for each of the four matches.

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