By: T’soloane Mohlomi
In the background of a successful maiden tournament. Alliance Insurance Group has decided to introduce a second instalment of the high school soccer Tournament, much to the delight of the local soccer fraternity.
Divided in 12 zones within the country’s northern, central and southern regions, this year’s tournament will be funded with a sponsorship deal totalling M250, 000 as was the case in its preceding year. This year the tournament kicks off on the 13th May.
The said funding will be put towards the events’ administration and organization, prizes, as well as new playing kits for the top four teams that will be participating in the final.
During last year’s version, St Rose High school emerged victorious and claimed the top prize.
Speaking at the official launch in Maseru, Alliance Insurance’s Head Group Marketing & Corporate communications, Mrs ‘Makeabetsoe Mabaleha, said in what could be observed as a successful first run, which saw the tournament produce exceptional talent transcending in top players in the premier league; in their continuation of the showpiece, they aimed to reignite the love of sport amongst the schools and ensure a sense of cohesion, as soccer has the ability to equip kids with skills like teamwork, perseverance, and decision making, which are detrimental to all aspects of their daily lives.
Mrs Mabaleha said it was through this tournament that they wanted to show citizens that they were serious about the development of Basotho and Lesotho, as they would continue to promote and be involved with the hope that Premier league teams will be able to scout new talent through the competition, giving young people an array of hope in the sporting sector.
She also said sport as a discipline played a vital part in education, as healthy bodies produced healthy minds, and the benefits in turn aided and enhanced the learning process.
“Our investment should therefore not be taken only in the light of bringing great entertainment to Basotho, but also take into consideration, the education spin offs that these children stand to derive out of this initiative. Even though we may not quantify the exact value schools stand to derive from the tournament, we know that young people who spend at least five hours doing exercise per week tend to perform better academically than those who are less active as per a study conducted by the United Nations (UN) in 2003.
“What is more exciting about this tournament, is the fact that, the four teams that will be representing their districts, will not only have the opportunity to walk away with the title of being the Alliance High School Tournament winner and a prize money, but they will also have an opportunity to be curtain raisers at the Alliance Winter Challenge and play against last year’s winners – St Rose High School,” she explained.
Alliance currently sponsors four teams in the premier league, and in celebrating their 30th anniversary they, emphasized that this year’s spectacle would be bigger and better than that of last year.
Speaking on behalf of the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) Mr Mothwalo Mothwalo thanked Alliance Insurance Group for its support of football in the grass roots development stage and said he hoped this initiative would spread to all the ten districts of Lesotho in order to ensure that the tournament impacted children all across the country. He lambasted the misuse of sponsorship funding saying that it would deter sponsorship deals in the future.
The Lesotho Sport & Recreation Commission (LSRC) president, Mr Lit’sitso Mots’ekhemeli upon lauding Alliance for their efforts thanked their counterparts LEFA and LISA (Lesotho Institute of Sport Associations) for their display of solidarity in ensuring the games commenced and promoting sport in the country.