MASERU — The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) together with Population Services International (PSI) on Monday launched the New Start District Soccer Tournament.
PSI is bankrolling the tournament to the tune of M300 000 and only B and C Division teams are taking part in the competition.
There are no prize monies for the winning teams.
Instead champions for each district will get a trophy, soccer kit and a ball.
The runners-up will get silver medals and soccer bibs.
PSI country representative Dennis Walto said the purpose of this tournament was to get more men to test for HIV through the use of football tournaments.
Up to 6 600 men were tested during last year’s tournament in only four districts — Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng and Qacha’s Nek.
This time round all the 10 districts are expected to take part.
“The main purpose of this district tournament is to get more men to take responsibility by going for voluntary counselling and testing,” Walto said.
“If more men test for HIV and other chronic diseases and know their status, together we can make HIV and Aids history here in Lesotho.”
PSI deputy country representative for programmes Mankhala Lerotholi said men were their ideal target in this tournament because of their influence in society.
“Basotho men are the main influencers in their communities,” Lerotholi said.
“If they start testing, they set examples for their peers and family members.”
“This campaign will inspire fans to learn their status and master correct and consistent condom use while supporting their favourite soccer teams,” she added.
Lefa chief executive officer Mofihli Makoele said partnering with PSI will help football followers to live a responsible life.
“We as Lefa and the whole football fraternity are happy to sign this deal today because partnering with PSI will help us to live as responsible citizens,” Makoele said.