Vodacom Soccer Spectacular launched

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MASERU — The 2011 Vodacom Soccer Spectacular was launched on Monday amid uncertainty whether it would be the last edition of the riveting knockout competition that has thrilled football fans since it started in 2008.
Vodacom has a three-year deal with the Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) that is due to end this season.
That is why this year’s edition of the competition has been dubbed “The Final”.
Lefa vice-president Tlholo Letete said he hoped the deal would continue.
“I thank Vodacom for the  support and I say to you let’s hope that this was just the foundation for greater things to come. I believe we will continue (with the contract),” Letete said during the launch.
Vodacom’s head of commercial, Tšabiso Letsoela was also bullish about Vodacom’s participation in local football.
Since September 2009 Vodacom has pumped in at least M4 million to revitalise football in Lesotho through sponsorship of the league and its flagship cup competition, the Soccer Spectacular.
With a sponsorship of M1 million, Vodacom Soccer Spectacular is the Lesotho’s richest football tournament.
Winners get M360 000, the highest prize in Lesotho sport, while runners-up walk away M180 000 richer.
“We will continue doing what’s right. We will continue to support our country regardless of what the haters say, hope or call for.
“We will continue doing something regardless of the situation,” Letsoela said.
“This is the last Vodacom Soccer Spectacular under the current understanding with Lefa. We want to go into this year in style,” he said.
The eight participating teams will be determined via a Vodacom short message service (sms) competition and will be chosen from a pool of 32 Vodacom Premier League and Vodacom A-Division clubs.
The eight will play in a knockout competition which starts on October 22 with the final set for November.
The tournament has grown since LCS won the first edition which was only a four-team event in 2008.
Matlama conquered it in 2009 and last year it was Likhopo who walked away with the honours.
However, last year was not without controversy.
There were incidents where Matlama fought over gate-takings in the first round and then Linare fans caused the abandonment of their semi-final against Matlama.
“Lefa won’t stand for anything that will taint this competition. Things that happened last year won’t be tolerated.
“The clubs should know that if we see you spoil the name of the cup we won’t hesitate to kick you out,” Letete said.
He also thanked Lefa’s partners, Nthane Brothers Holdings and Basutoland Ink.
For the first time in the tournament’s history it will also feature a concurrent women’s competition.
The eight teams that get into the Vodacom Soccer Spectacular will pick a women’s team to accompany them in the tournament.
Vodacom have put M60 000 in prize money towards the mixed tournament with the winners set to win M20 000.
“The top eight teams will be asked to bring a women’s team of their choice, this is a prelude for greater things to come,” Letsoela said.
“I’m grateful that we are following the trend of respecting and praising women,” Letete added.
Voting closes on October 4.

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