MASERU — There has been confusion surrounding the fate of the Buddie Top 4 championship — one of Lesotho’s most popular football competitions inaugurated in 2004.
The tournament — which features the top four finishers from the previous Premier League season — had been scheduled for the beginning of last month but never took place, with neither the sponsor nor Lesotho Football Association, offering any explanation.
But last week, Lefa finally revealed the tournament had been scrapped, with the association’s acting chief executive officer, Mokhosi Mohapi telling Sunday Express the competition would not be played this year.
“Not with Buddie (as the sponsors). As you know, our sponsorship (with Econet) is no more. We will announce in the New Year, which course of action we will take. Right now, we are in negotiation with new sponsors.”
Econet-Telecom Lesotho had been sponsors of Lesotho football since 2002 but Lefa ended the association at the start of this season with telecommunications rivals, Vodacom Lesotho, taking over.
There had been reports the M750 000 Econet had pledged to domestic football this season, would be channelled towards the Buddie Top 4 tournament that have, however, been rubbished by the firm.
“As far as I am aware, the tournament will not continue,” Econet-Telecom Lesotho Corporate Affairs manager, Mpine Tente told the Sunday Express.
“The tournament was part of the agreement we had with Lefa and like everything else we had with the association, it cannot continue.
“The agreement was supposed to be renewed but we never heard anything. We didn’t want to announce whether the Buddie Top 4 would continue or not as we were still waiting to have a meeting with Lefa.”
LCS won the inaugural edition of the tournament and LDF clinched the competition last year after outslugging Linare, LCS and Matlama.
LDF were rewarded with M14 000 for their efforts.
Meanwhile Econet have stepped-up their business partnership with league champions Lioli.
The deal — in which Lioli will be selling Econet-Telecom Lesotho products — was signed in June this year
However, because of the “rivalry” between Econet and Vodacom, it is hard to envisage the former giving outright sponsorship to individual clubs.
“There are teams that have come forward and asked whether we could sponsor them, but that would be a management decision,” Tente said.
“It would also possibly have to be under a different arrangement but there has been nothing concrete of yet,” she said.