MASERU — This year’s Vodacom Soccer Spectacular knockout competition will be bigger and better.
This is the promise that’s been made by Vodacom Lesotho, and if last season’s fiesta is anything to go by then the 2010 edition could be a blockbuster.
In the chilly winter that has gripped the country, Maseru Sun Hotel was warmed up by the lively launch of the 2010 Vodacom Soccer Spectacular on Tuesday.
The occasion, attended by Sports Minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono as well as her principal secretary Makalo Theko, also saw the release of the new theme song for this year’s tournament, Ke Motšehetsi.
It was all part of the start of what Vodacom’s head of commercial Tšabiso Letsoela dubbed the “Lefa 2010 World Cup”.
The Vodacom Soccer Spectacular, Lesotho’s de facto national cup, is the richest tournament in the country’s football history.
It’s sponsored to the tune of M1 million with the winners getting M360 000.
Speaking at Tuesday’s launch Letsoela said Vodacom, which also bankrolls the Premier League, understood sport could be a tool for nation-building.
“(Sport) brings a spirit of togetherness, a sense of belonging and a spirit of competition and discipline,” he said.
The Vodacom Soccer Spectacular competition has certainly livened up Lesotho’s football and the launch saw the unveiling of a brand new trophy as well as a Miss Vodacom Soccer Spectacular contest and an award for the tournament’s best fan.
But the ingredients which made the tournament won by Matlama last year a smash hit will remain largely the same.
It is still an eight-team competition and the runners-up will get M180 000.
The third-placed side will pocket M120 000 while M80 000 will go to the team finishing fourth.
The four quarter-final losers, meanwhile, are each guaranteed M65 000.
The eight participants will again be determined via a Vodacom sms competition and will be chosen from a pool of 34 Premier League and first division teams.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times yesterday, Vodacom’s football marketing officer Tsotetsi Seema said they would try to have teams playing tournament matches at their home grounds.
Last season the tournament was played at neutral venues.
Butha-Buthe and Matsieng were the venues for the quarter-finals before the semi-final and final were played in Roma.
“Not everyone who voted for their teams (last season) got the chance to see them,” Seema said.
“Our plan is to play the home legs at the grounds of the teams. But it also depends on whether the ground is a good one.”