THE long-awaited Independence Top4 Cup will now be held on 14 and 15 December at Setsoto Stadium after Metropolitan Lesotho this week restored its sponsorship for the tournament a year after announcing its departure.
When Metropolitan announced that it was leaving the tournament, the other co-sponsor, Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB), said it would need to partner with another entity to ensure that it would not carry the cost alone.
In October this year, the organisers cancelled the tournament as they had not yet secured a new sponsor.
But this week Metropolitan retraced its footsteps to the tournament. The new developments were announced at the launch of the tournament at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena in Maseru on Monday.
Other new sponsors namely Super Hardware, Econet Telecom Lesotho, Maluti Mountain Cement and Builders City were also unveiled at the launch.
SLB marketing manager Manyathela Kheleli said the sponsors would all contribute towards the M1 million sponsorship for the tournament.
“We came together to make sure that this tournament happens and we will keep on working together,” Kheleli said.
He said even though the tournament was all about growing local football, there was also the bigger element of celebrating Lesotho’s Independence through soccer.
Four teams that finished at top of the Econet Premier League last season namely the champions Matlama, Bantu, Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) and Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) will battle it out for the M200 000 first prize.
The runners-up will pocket M100 000 while the third team will get M70 000. The fourth-placed team will get M40 000.
Lioli are the reigning champions but will not get a chance to defend their title after coming seventh last season.
Premier League Management Committee (PLMC) chairperson Ikarabelle Sello said despite the delays, the tournament would still serve it purpose of celebrating the country’s independence.
He added that after Metropolitan pulled out last year, they kept on pursuing them.
“We kept on knocking on their doors and they (Metropolitan) are back after seeing some opportunities that they did not see in the past,” Sello said.
Matlama will play LDF in the first semifinal on 14 December 2019 before Bantu and LCS could lock horns at later that evening.
The finals and the third-place play-off will follow on 15 December at the same venue.
The tournament individual prizes
Top goal scorer of the tournament – M6000
Man of the match- M3000 per match
Player of the tournament- M8000
Goal Keeper of the tournament- M6000
Referee of the tournament – M4000
Assistant referees of the tournament- M2000 each