THEY came they saw, they dazzled and conquered!
The above statement paraphrased from the legendary ancient Roman statesman and soldier, Julius Caesar, aptly summarises the exploits of the Lesotho Times sports desk who won big at the inaugural Alliance Sports Media Awards (ASMA) which were held at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village on Saturday night.
Alliance Insurance and their co-sponsors certainly did their homework to come up with a show that will be etched on the minds of all those who attended for a long time.
It had all the ingredients of a show stopper: glitz, glamour and razzmatazz. Food, wine and music were all part of the package on a night when all and sundry were dressed to kill.
It was one of the characters of fabled English playwright, William Shakespeare, who remarked that “if music be the food of love, play on”.
And the music certainly played on with top performances from Jazz sensation, Selimo Thabane, Afro pop singer Angel and a contemporary dance crew all providing the backdrop for Lesotho Times’ immaculately turned out trio of reporters, Moorosi Tsiane and Mikia Kalati as well as photojournalist, Thabelo Monamane’s memorable evening where they won big at the sports awards.
ASMA was launched in February this year as a collaborative effort with the Lesotho Sports Reporters Association (LSRA) in order to recognise, celebrate and reward the contribution of the sports reporters from the print and broadcast media.
The list of sponsors included Vodacom Lesotho, Lesotho Funeral Services, AON, Splitz, Clientcare, Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village, Letšeng Diamond and Standard Lesotho Bank.
The awards were segmented into five categories of Best Print Reporter, Best Radio Reporter, Best Print Photographer, Best Radio Commentator and Best Television Presenter.
The winner in each category was awarded M6000 cash prize, M2000 Game Stores shopping voucher, a trophy and a certificate. The first runner up received M2 000 and a certificate while the second runner got M1 000 and a certificate.
The Lesotho Times’ Moorosi Tsiane and Mikia Kalati dominated the Best Print Reporter category landing first and second place respectively. Kekeletso Masitha of Newsday was third.
As if that was not enough, the Lesotho Times’ Mr Monamane beat six contenders to clinch the Best Print Photographer award. Freelancer, Tšeliso Tale was second with The Post’s Molise Molise third.
There was also recognition for the veterans in the sports reporting fraternity where Thabiso Mulungwane, Motlatsi Ncholu and the late Lira Ntlele, all received trophies, a certificate and M3500 cash prize each.
Sports reporters are normally seen in jeans and t-shirts or track suits but Saturday was a night unlike the others as they put on the best formal attire from their wardrobes.
It was click and after click and flashes of light as they posed with their loved ones against the majestic backdrop of the red and black colours of Alliance Insurance.
They all made their obligatory speeches and graciously thanked the sponsors for one of the biggest nights of their sports reporting career.
The ‘skinny’ comedian, Masapo also took to the stage and those closest to the stage and ladies with unconventional hairstyles found themselves on the receiving end of his jokes.
LSRA president, Nthako Majoro, hailed Alliance Insurance and its partners, saying their sponsorship had helped improve the state of sports journalism in the country.
“Before the ASMA, this profession was neglected in Lesotho until we came together in 2013 to form LSRA which for the past two years has been knocking on Alliance Insurance doors who agreed late last year to sponsor the awards,” Majoro said.
“I thank the other sponsors including Metropolitan who did not see Alliance as their competitor but a partner in this case, hence their motto ‘together we can’.
“Today we are celebrating the success of sports journalism in the country which will never be the same again since local companies have decided to support us. We encourage other local companies to also do the same in order to improve sports journalism in this country.”
For his part, Alliance Insurance Financial Director, Mohapinyane Taole, said they although it took them two years to be convinced, they were happy to sponsor the awards.
“When LSRA first proposed to us two years back, we never thought what they had in mind was something this beautiful, really beyond our wildest dreams.
“The trophies are a symbol of hard work and determination so keep on doing the good work and those who did not win should exert more effort.
“We can all agree that Alliance Insurance is passionate about sports and we get touched every time we get testimonies of the impact we make in sports. This is one area that is neglected although reporters cover sports through rain and sunshine.
“Without them we would not know of what is happening in sports and my plea is for them to be capacitated with resources and techniques to cover different sports field outside of soccer,” he said.
Sadly the ministers of Sports and Communications were conspicuous by their absence despite being invited to the gala.
List of winners:
Best Print Reporter
Winner: Moorosi Tsiane (Lesotho Times)
First Runner up: Mikia Kalati (Lesotho Times)
Second Runner up: Kekeletso Masitha (Newsday)
Best Print Photographer
Winner: Thabelo Monamane (Lesotho Times)
First Runner up: Tšeliso Tale (Freelance)
Second Runner up: Molise Molise (The Post)
Best Radio Presenter
Winner: Chalale Mokhethi (Moafrika FM)
First Runner up: Relebohile Makosholo (Jesu Ke Karabo FM)
Second Runner up: Sephooa Mabese (Radio Lesotho)
Best Radio Commentator
Winner: Mphasa Kinela (Radio Lesotho)
First Runner up: Thapelo Bulane (KEL Radio)
Second Runner up: Tholang Moopola (KEL Radio)
Best Television Presenter
Winner: Tumahole John Tṧebetso
First Runner up: Thapelo Mabote
Second Runner up: None
Thabiso Mulungwane, Motlatsi Ncholu and the late Lira Ntlele