By Moorosi Tsiane
MASERU — Premier League giants Lioli and Linare will battle it out with A-Division rookies Caledon Royals and CCX in a four-team M50 000 tournament sponsored by the famous traditional herbalist, Thato “Sandawana” Nkone.
The day-long competition dubbed the “Sandawana Herbal New Life Soccer Tournament” which will take place on Saturday in Leribe, and will see the two rookie teams vie for the M20 000 coveted ultimate prize money against their counterparts from the superior league.
The first of the two semi-finals will see Lioli take on Caledon Royals while Linare will entertain CCX in the second encounter.
Sandawana who is also the owner of sponsoring company, Sandawana Herbal New Life, said the tournament is a social responsibility initiative on his part, adding that it’s essential to give back to the society that has been consistent in its support for his business.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times, Retšelisitsoe “Maoese” Ramoabi, the tournament organiser also said the tournament is a platform for Sandawana to plough back to the community as well as an initiative to keep the youth busy to discourage them from meddling in criminal activities during the festive season.
“The tournament is also aimed at taking youths away from the streets by luring them into sports. Substance and alcohol abuse is minimised especially at this time of the year, hence less chances of them committing crimes” Ramoabi said.
According to Ramoabi, the tourney is also a plan to raise the standard of football in the county. It will also present Lioli the much needed practice prior to their participation in the Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League against Africa’s best set for next year.
“Nkone is using this tournament to help improve football in the country,” Ramoabi said.
Lioli will get a chance to hoist the national flag as they take on Primeiro de Agosto of Angola in the Caf Champions League set for February.
“Each of the teams have received a M5 000 participation fee from the sponsors. Moreover, there will be M1 000 each for the top goal scorer and player of the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Ramoabi pleaded with the teams involved to be disciplined during the course of the tournament as that could encourage the sponsors to make the tournament an annual competition.