The Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) has injected M600 000 into the LNIG Top8 tournament scheduled for early next year.
The funding is twice the amount the insurance giant pumped into the competition last season. The popular event is contested by Premier League teams that finish among the top eight on the 14-team Premiership table. Bantu, Linare, Matlama, LDF, Likhopo, LCS, Qoaling Highlanders and defending champions Lioli would fight for the winners’ prize of M100 000, with the draw set to be conducted next month.
Speaking during yesterday’s unveiling ceremony held at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena, LNIG Managing Director, Ralitapole Letsoela, said doubling the sponsorship was an endorsement of the competition by LNIG.
“There are big improvements in the tournament this time around, especially the prize money for the team. The first prize has gone up from M40 000 to M100 000, while the runners-up take home M80 000, which was M30 000 last season. The third-placed and number four teams are going to pocket M60 000 and M50 000, up from M25 000 and M20 000, respectively,” Letsoela said. The four teams that lose in the quarterfinals each get M30 000, but received M12,500 last season.
According to Letsoela, the hike in sponsorship is aimed at improving the standard of football in this country.
“It is a known fact that football is a major and popular sport in this country, so we are trying by all means to improve it for the good of our nation. It is only when we have such big competitions that our football can grow and we, as LNIG, are very hopeful that this tournament will help the country achieve just that,” he said.
“The competition did very well last year and like we promised that if taken very good care of we will invest more, this is what we have exactly done now.”
Premier League chairman, Lebohang Thotanyana, on his part, said the tournament is expected to kick-off on the weekend of 23-24 January at Setsoto Stadium and end on 22-23 March at the same venue.
“The tournament will start on the weekend of 23-24 January with the first of the two-legged quarter-finals, while the final and semifinals take place on 22-23 March at Setsoto Stadium,” said Thotanyana
Thotanyana added some of the funds would be used to buy kit for the participating teams, as well as administration.
“Each team will receive a new set of playing kit, and get additional ones once they reach the semifinals and final.”