Newcomer teams surprise packages

MASERU — Premier league newcomers Majantja and Maduma are the surprise packages after they qualified for this year’s Vodacom Soccer Spectacular tournament.

The other six teams that qualified for the tourney are Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) with 88 522 votes, and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) with 85 084 votes.

Bantu also qualified for the knock-out tournament on third place with 73 436 votes and were followed by Matlama with 43 782 votes.

Teyateyaneng giants, Lioli and Linare also made it into the tournament.

Maduma secured 42 647 votes while Lioli and Majantja secured 4 355 and 2 637 votes, respectively.

Linare took the last slot with 2 253 votes.

Last year’s winner, Likhopo FC, failed to qualify after garnering a paltry 525 votes.

Speaking at a ceremony to announce the finalists at Bambata Tsita yesterday, Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) public relations officer, Baba Malephane, congratulated the eight teams that qualified for the finals.

He however noted that there was a drop in the voting numbers.

Lefa yesterday also announced that it had cancelled a planned women’s competition which was scheduled to play as the curtain raisers for the Soccer Spectacular tournament.

Malephane said the decision to scrap the women’s contest was due to lack of interest from men’s teams.

“Due to circumstances unforeseen and beyond its control, the Lesotho Football Association has resolved to hold in abeyance the women’s competition in the 2011 Vodacom Soccer Spectacular,” he said.

Only four teams had submitted their women’s teams before voting closed on Tuesday. Voting was through the short message service (sms).

“The expectation was that the men’s teams would have submitted their women’s teams or partners by October 4 but this has not happened,” Malephane said.

He said continuing with the women competition “under these circumstances would defeat the objective of this competition namely the promotion of women football and affording the sponsor maximum mileage.”

At least 32 premier league clubs and A Division teams were vying for the top eight places to qualify for this year’s Soccer Spectacular tournament.

The teams were also expected to field women’s teams alongside them.

Telecommunications giants, Vodacom Lesotho, are sponsoring this year’s tournament to the tune of M1 million.

The winners will walk away M360 000 richer.

The tournament kicks off on October 22.

Meanwhile, Vodacom marketing coordinator, Tsotetsi Seema, said this year’s voting results had shown that interest in the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular had drastically declined.

“This year’s spirit or excitement for the Soccer Spectacular has declined drastically given last year’s votes,” Seema said.

He said last year, the team with the least number of votes had 58 893 votes, while this year’s bottom team only had 2 253.

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