Premier League pickings get richer

MASERU  —  The 2009/10 Vodacom Premier League champions are set to receive M100 000 — an increase of M70 000 to last season’s winners’ purse. The league runners-up will pocket M60 000, according to new league sponsors, Vodacom Lesotho.
The 2008/09 championship winners, Lioli, received M30 000 for their efforts.
The breakdown of the prize money had not been made public until yesterday.
Until the 2009/10 season, Lesotho’s various soccer leagues were being sponsored by Econet-Telecom Lesotho.
Vodacom Lesotho has since taken over as the official Premier League sponsor, and the telecommunications company will also bankroll the country’s three other leagues — A, B and C divisions — as part of the deal. Vodacom Lesotho will pump M1 million a season into the four leagues for the next three years.
“We are one of those companies that believe in taking football to greater heights. We are only starting,” Vodacom Lesotho spokesperson Thabiso Mlungwane, who also oversees the company’s sponsorships and promotions, told the Lesotho Times yesterday.
The figure is however much less than the M360 000 which winners of the eight-team Vodacom Soccer Spectacular will take home at the end of the eight-week tournament.
Mlungwane acknowledged the fact the league winner is set to get much less, pointing out that this was because the company is sponsoring all the country’s leagues.
Vodacom’s total sponsorship of the top-flight league amounts to M504 500, with the rest of the funding being shared among the A, B and C divisions.
Winners of the C-Division will receive M10 000 under the Vodacom deal. Last season’s C-Division champions, Berea outfit Tsome, did not receive any monetary prize for their efforts.
“It (the prize money for winning the league and Soccer Spectacular) could be the same,” Mlungwane said. “But we are sponsoring all divisions. Before this season, the C-Division (fourth division) was not getting anything but its winners will now receive M10 000.”
The league package, however, does not include any individual awards, such as player-of-the-season or top-scorer accolades.
Surprisingly, this has not  been put forward by the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa).
“We are not hands-on to that extent. Such things will be decided by Lefa,” Mlungwane said. “We are still at the beginning of our sponsorship (but) if there is something of the sort, we will entertain it.”

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