THE Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) has injected M540 000 into the upcoming Roof of Africa race.
Some of the funds have been channeled towards servicing nine motorcycles and racing gear for 10 local athletes who are being sponsored the company.
Among the athletes is 16-year-old Nkhasi Matete who says he is ready to become Lesotho’s first teenager to participate in the annual Roof of Africa race from 5 to 7 December 2019.
The announcement was made at a press briefing in Maseru this week.
Matete will ride in the bronze category alongside Tobatsi Maseatile, Peter Andrews, Timello Tsolo, Sechaba Chabeli, Shabeer Moosa and Moshate Letlela. Joseph Motenane, Basia Masiatile and Teboho Moretlo will ride in the silver category.
The first day will be round the house competition at Maseru Club before silver and bronze riders head to Thaba-Bosiu for their time trial.
Matete expressed gratitude to MGC for making his dream come true.
He said he was ready to make history and become the country’s first teenager to take part in the race.
“This is my first time in the race and I have mixed emotions, on one end I am happy but at the same time I am nervous because I know that the task ahead is huge,” Matete said.
“However, I am ready to step up and have fun.”
He said his preparations were on track as he has participated in different races in and outside the country.
“We have been racing in different races and my last race was the Retro-Roof last month where I came first in junior class.
“I know it is not going to be easy, so I don’t want to put myself under any pressure. I just want to take it one day at the time and see where I will be on the last day of the race,” he said.
MGC head of corporate communications and marketing, ‘Mamotake Matekane said they were proud to assist the riders as the sport was expensive.
Matekane said the sponsorship entails servicing nine motorcycles to ensure they are race-ready, purchasing of the riders’ race gear, branding of the bikes. The company will avail its helicopter for emergency services and taking pictures.
“We are proud to be sponsoring local riders in this year’s race. The team is mostly made up of youngsters and we are happy to invest in young talent.
“We want to be part of the efforts to nurture that talent. We know that the sport is expensive and MGC is fully committed to sponsoring the local riders. In past years, we have bought some motorbikes for some of the riders. However, since the riders were many this year, we decided to service their bikes at KTM, and bought the racing gear for each rider and have also branded their bikes. On the day of the race, we will transport the families of all the riders to Thaba-Bosiu.
“We have also pledged our chopper which will be used for taking pictures and also for emergency purposes. All our sponsorship amounts to M540 000,” Matekane said.
Matekane also encouraged the sponsored riders to continue working hard as they are expected to excel by virtue of their association with MGC.
“Once you associate with us, we expect certain standards from you and that is very important. We are a big brand known for good things and that is what is expected of you.
“We are also calling on other companies to come forward and help sponsor athletes so that we can share responsibilities and shine when the riders excel,” Matekane said.
Lesotho-Off Road Association (LORA) spokesperson Keketso Malebo thanked MGC for the support and exhorted the bikers to jealously guard the equipment they received.
“We thank MGC for this support and to you the riders, please take good care of this equipment. MGC has done its and now the ball is in your court to see how you show your appreciation.
“Use this equipment for the intended purposes so that the sponsors will also continue supporting you in future,” Matekane said.