By Mots’elisi Sekonyela
Two childhood friends and concerned parents, Mahlompho Liphoto and Mantsane Matekane have joined the #SayNoToDrugsAndAlcoholAbuse global campaign with an initiative they will kick start in April 2023 as a result of the high rate of alcohol and drug abuse they saw during the festive season amongst children and the youth in towns and villages of Lesotho.
Liphoto and Matekane have collaborated with organizations like Anti-Drug Abuse Association of Lesotho (ADAAL) and TGC Group (PTY) LTD to carry out this mission, and continue to knock on more organizations’ doors for sponsorship purposes.
The ADAAL representative, Mphonyane Mofokeng said they endorse this initiative fully and commend the two ladies for their vision but warned of the tremendous challenge the fight against drug abuse is. She further emphasized on the importance of consistency when embarking on campaigns like this one.
“I thank God for the vision he gave these two ladies. We are at an all-time high of drug and alcohol abuse amongst our youth and children, we need as many people as can be to fight this. However, I want to warn them that this is not something they can fight by just a once off event. They need to be consistent and dedicated in their efforts to raise awareness as well as offer rehabilitation,” said Mofokeng.
Football as an all-inclusive sport is how they hope to curb this problem. The first phase of this campaign will be implemented on April 1st at Setsoto stadium in a match between veteran Basotho football players and veteran South African players. This big match will be preceded by a few matches between small, village teams with the hope of igniting the spark and love for the sport in the young players so they grow up focused on it during their free time instead of resorting to drug abuse. After the veterans’ match will then be the awarding ceremony for the young players’ winning teams.
Mofokeng said one of the major challenges they get faced with by trying to curb drug and alcohol abuse through sports is that at the end of the very matches that aim to raise awareness, celebrations come in the form of drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. She therefore urged the hosts of the upcoming event to be aware of this behavior and try as much as possible to prevent it.
Among others, the South African veterans’ team is made up of Doctor Khumalo, who is a former Kaizer Chiefs player.
Liphoto and Matekane stated that this is going to be a two day event that will see the first day, being the 31th of March host soccer clinics in two districts, Maseru and Berea. These will be life orientation sessions where young people will be educated on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and well as encouraged to adopt healthier hobbies like playing sports. These sessions will be conducted by the campaign hosts as well as the veteran football players who will share their success tips in the sport. In Berea it will be held at Lioli grounds at 10.00 am and in Maseru it will be at Pitso ground at 12.00 pm.
The second day will be the match day at Setsoto stadium at 3pm. Tickets are available at Computicket, Shoprite, Usave as well as through Mpesa and Ecocash merchants at M50.00.