Independence Top4 fiesta countdown

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independenceBy Mikia Kalati, Maseru

METROPOLITAN Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank on Tuesday announced an improved sponsor­ship for this year’s edition of the Independence Top4 tournament set for the first weekend of October.
This year’s competition is spon­sored to the tune of M300 000 with the winners set to walk away with M50 000 compared to last year M40 000.
The runners-up will pocket M30 000 while third and fourth placed teams will get M20 000 and M15 000 respectively.
There will also be accolades for outstanding individuals with all the four teams set to receive a new soc­cer kit.
Well, we are surely still way off compared to the monies that are in­vested in football in other countries, especially our neighbours, South Africa.
But, it is only fair that we con­gratulate the premier league and thank the two companies for their continued support to invest in foot­ball and sport in general.
Like I have said before, I think we are slowly moving in the right direction and we will soon see large amounts of monies being invested in the game in our country.
My big interest is on the pitch of play where the inform league cham­pions, Lioli will face LCS while LDF will play Bantu.
As we speak, LDF and Lioli are among the only three clubs in the league yet to lose matches and with three wins in three opening fixtures.
It will be very interesting to see if these teams can continue with their fine form leading to the Independ­ence Cup competition.
Surely Bantu and LDF still have unfinished business after the Army team broke the Mafeteng based out­fit’s unbeaten run late last season.
At that time Bantu were enjoying a fine form and closing in on their first ever league title, but the loss to LDF did not only see them lose their unbeaten streak.
They ultimately lost the league ti­tle to Lioli after struggled to regain their momentum.
Surely the Mafeteng based side will go all out to settle the score.
The challenge will even be big­ger for their newly appointed coach, Motlatsi Shale, to defend the title because Bantu has won the last two editions of the Independence Top4 tournament.

A Matšo Matebele did not have the best start to the new season managing only two draws in their opening matches before last week­end’s 9-0 demolishing of Joy to earn their first win of the new campaign.
We are all looking forward to see if Shale and his team can live up to the expectation that has seen the club spend over M100 000 on new players in the transfer window.
Mosholu “Shoe” Mokhothu has taken over Lehlohonolo Thotanyana at Lioli and is also under pressure to deliver a trophy for his big star studded squad especially after the big monies that the management of the club invested in new players.
Tse Nala started the campaign with a 6-0 win over Mpharane Celt­ic and has never looked back since then, winning all their matches.
Cup competitions have eluded the three teams in Lioli, LCS and LDF over the past four seasons and they will all be trying to wrestle the In­dependence trophy away from Ban­tu so that the Mafeteng based side does not make it three trophies in a row.

LDF is one of league big guns that have had a great start to the new season and we will have to wait and see if this is the season that Motheo Mohapi can bring back the glory days to the Army side that dominat­ed the domestic league some years back.

It’s surely going to be a football fiesta for the football fanatics on the first weekend of October 5-6 and in the field of play I expect nothing, but a fierce battle among the coun­try’s top four teams as they battle for the M50 000 first prize money, trophy and gold medals.

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