INSURANCE giants, Metropolitan Lesotho this week announced that this year’s edition of the Independence Top4 tournament will be their last to sponsor as they are taking a different strategic direction.
Metropolitan managing director, Nkau Matete, announced during the launch of this year’s tournament at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena on Tuesday that they are ending their seven-year relationship with the Premier League Management Committee (PLMC).
The organisation has been a co-sponsor with Standard Lesotho Bank, who have indicated that they will still sit down with the Premier League to map the way forward.
“It’s been seven years sponsoring this tournament but we are saying our goodbyes because we are taking a break,” Matete said.
“We will not be part of the tournament next year. This is our final year but when I talked with our co-sponsors, Standard Lesotho Bank, they said they will sit down and map the way forward with the PLMC.
“We are thankful and have enjoyed a warm relationship and we are going back to regain our strength and let me take this opportunity to thank the Premier League, the mother body, the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA), referees and all whom we have worked well with.”
Matete assured the newly elected PLMC president Ikarabele Sello that their decision to terminate their relationship has nothing to do with changes in the league body. He however, said the decision was influenced by the need to have a strategic direction shift.
“We are not leaving football but due to issues involving strategic direction and position of the brand, we have decided to us and we will see afterwards if we can still continue.
“With that I want to thank the two teams from the two companies for the work we have done. The brand that we have both built will not be easy to destroy or to easily be forgotten,” Matete said.
Meanwhile, a statement from Standard Lesotho Bank acting chief executive officer, Mokhejane Moleli, said they are extremely happy to forge ahead with the 2018 edition of the tournament.
“We are extremely happy to be forging ahead with the 2018 edition of the Independence Cup tournament once again. For us this event is an important celebration of our Independence as Basotho.
“I firmly believe that we have made a solid investment in this football franchise that has surely become a force to be reckoned with and many football lovers look forward to the Independence football spectacle every year with great anticipation.
“It is indeed sad to lose a co-sponsor as mentioned that Metropolitan will be participating in this year’s tournament as their last.
“We would like to thank Metropolitan Lesotho immensely for the contribution in the last seven years. Without you we wouldn’t have made it on our own and wish you all the best in your future endeavours. As for Standard Lesotho Bank, we are still to sit around the table with the Premier League to see if we will be able to proceed in the coming years and the outcome of our meeting will be known in due course,” the statement reads.
This year’s tournament will feature the defending champions, Bantu, and the teams which finished the previous campaign in second, third and fourth namely Lioli, LCS and Matlama respectively.
The winners of the tournament will walk away with M200 000, runners up M100 000, third M80 000 and fourth M50 000.
The four teams will also each get M15 000 to be used on corporate social initiatives (CSI) as was the case in the previous year while there will also be individuals accolades for outstanding players.
2018 Independence Cup prize money breakdown
Winners – M200 000
Runners up – M100 000
3rd Prize – M70 000
4th Prize – M50 000
Man of the match M3 000
Top Goal Scorer M6 000
Goalkeeper of the Tournament M6 000
Player of the tournament M8 000