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. . . as Lefa sets aside M80 000 for the encounter

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU – The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) has set aside M80 000 to help Matlama FC take part in next weekend’s Champions League tie against Supersport United.

Matlama will take on Supersport United in a Champions League preliminary first leg tie at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane next Sunday.

Lefa technical director Seephephe Matete told the Sunday Express last week that it was national policy to sponsor any club representing the country in international competitions.

“Lefa is paying for everything from the camp to allowance fees so that teams representing the country have time to prepare for the game and not worry about raising money to cover their expenses,” Matete said.

He said the money will be used to pay for the team’s accommodation and transport to Polokwane.

Part of the money has also been used to pay for the team’s training camp at Bambata Tsita which began on Wednesday.

Matlama will remain in camp until Friday when they leave for Polokwane.

“It is not Matlama only that we are paying for their expenses. This is our policy as Lefa to finance any team playing official international matches,” Matete said.

He said the arrangement was meant to enable clubs to concentrate on their preparations and not worry about expenses.

Matete said Lefa will however collect all the gate takings during the return leg at Setsoto Stadium in a fortnight.

“We are going to keep gate takings during the return leg in two weeks’ time. But the money collected through gate takings is too little as compared to what we are spending on one team only,” Matete said.

Away from the money matters, Matete bemoaned Matlama’s lack of international friendly matches.

He said this might cost them dearly come Sunday.

Matlama have only played two international friendly matches against Bloemfontein Celtics and the South African Under-23 side as they stepped up preparations for the tie.

Matlam lost both matches.

They fell 2:3 to Celtics before succumbing to a morale sapping 3-0 defeat to the South African Under-23 side.

“Their preparations have not been good at all because they haven’t played many international friendly matches to prepare them for this task,” Matete said.

“International friendly matches were not enough for Matlama because Supersport is a big team with more international experience,” he said.

Matlama last took part in the Caf Champions League in 2004 when they were drawn against giants Orlando Pirates.

Pirates hammered Matlama by seven goals to one on aggregate.

Meanwhile, Matlama have embarked on a fund-raising drive to ensure more supporters travel with the team to Polokwane on Sunday.

A return ticket to Polokwane had been put at M460 but Tse Putsoa want sponsors to subsidise the cost to allow supporters to pay just M200 for the journey.

Matlama’s public relations officer Tsiu Monne said his committee wanted to help supporters make the trip to South Africa.

“As it stands its M460 to and from Polokwane but we want our supporters to pay at least M200,” Monne said.

At least 20 supporters have been assured that they will make the trip after the club’s sponsor Alliance Insurance promised to take care of the supporters’ transport, accommodation and meal expenses.

The names of the 20 supporters were announced during the team’s Vodacom Premier League match against Bantu last Saturday.

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