M25 000 cash price will be at stake at the return of the Alliance Winter Challenge sixth edition.
Launched on Tuesday at the Alliance Insurance Companâ€™s headquarters in Maseru, the challenge boosts for the first time a cash price for the winner.
The annual friendly tournament returns after two years of its absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic that saw sports and other gatherings being suspended.
It was first hosted in 2015 and had grown into the main attraction for football-starved fans during off-season.
Since its inception, the tournament was contested as an invitational opportunity where three premier league clubs sponsored by Alliance Insurance â€“ Matlama, Lioli and Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) would have a fourth invitee taking part in the four-teamed tournament.
However, this year there will be no invitee as Alliance now sponsors four teams with the latest addition being Linare FC who will get a taste of the Winter Tournament for the first time.
Unlike in the past editions, the tournament will have a â€˜Winner takes allâ€™ price money worth M25 000 sponsored by the insurance company.
Alliance Insurance Communications and Marketing Manager, Limakatso Mokobocho highlighted that despite the recent economic challenges induced by the COVID-19 scourge, the companyâ€™s price money is an affirmation of their commitment to the growth of football in the country.
â€œWe all are witnesses to the financial constraints that companies went through during these past two years where we were faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Alliance Insurance was no exception, nonetheless, these teams which we work with continued to get financial support, and that simply showed that our support towards football is a lifetime commitment,â€ Mokobocho said.
She added, â€œThis yearâ€™s tournament will see the introduction of a cash price of M25 000 with the winner set to take all. We believe this will be motivation enough for a very entertaining tournament. On the other hand, the four teams will get to make money from the gate takings during the tournament which will be divided amongst the four at the end of the tournament.â€
She highlighted the importance of the tournament to the four teams saying the football drought hits a lot of fans during the off-season thus the return needed to be brightened up.
The tournament will be hosted at the District Football Association (DiFA) Maputsoe Stadium on the weekend of 27 and 28 August 2022.
â€œWith Matlama set to participate in the CAF Champions League, this tournament will be highly important for them to see how ready they are, while the other teams will gauge their readiness for the upcoming season,â€ Mokobocho said.
The last winner of the tournament was the guest outfit, Bantu FC, in 2019.
Giving his vote of thanks to Alliance Insurance for its role in football development, Matlamaâ€™s Communications and Marketing Manager, Tankiso Moletsane said ever since the company started working with his team, they have lacked nothing.
â€œWe are starting to show signs of a club that is well taken care of and this is all made possible by Alliance hence. I would like to say a big thank you to the company.â€
He stated that this competition would be of a great opportunity for Matlama as they will be preparing for the CAF Championsâ€™ league set for a few weeks after the tournament.
â€œMatlama are the current premier league champions so, we are happy with the draw and the team we will squaring up with because though we are champions, it was only Linare we failed to win against during the past season. So, I am glad we meet during a crucial time when I will be preparing for a much tougher test on an international platform,â€ Moletsane said.