LOCAL insurance giants, Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) deserve to be commended for their decision last week to significantly increase their sponsorship of the Top8 soccer tournament for 2017 to M800 000 from M600 000.
The tournament is contested by clubs that would have finished in the top eight in the previous season’s 14-team Vodacom Premier League championship.
The winners will pocket M100 000 with the runners up receiving M80 000 and the third and fourth-placed teams getting M60 000 and M50 000 respectively.
There will be M30 000 consolation for each of the teams eliminated in the two legged quarter finals each get.
While it is indisputable that the clubs spend more than M100 000 in preparations for soccer competitions such as these, it is also true to say that LNIG are at least doing their best in the context of a harsh macroeconomic environment.
After all, ancient wisdom has it that half a loaf is better than none at all.
As explained by LNIG managing director, Ralitapole Letsoela, the increase was necessitated by an increase in the costs of running the tournament which include among other things, covering the expenses for the Under 17 teams that will be featuring in the tournament for the first time in place of the usual Legends teams.
It is true that as stakeholders in sports, we have been complaining about lack of financial support from the business sector.
However, it would be remiss on our part not to acknowledge the sterling contributions of LNIG and a few other companies have made by investing in various sporting disciplines.
My cup is certainly overflowing this week. In the first instance it was a relief that LNIG would continue their sponsorship and the substantial increase in the package turned out to be the proverbial cherry on top or the icing on the cake depending on whichever titillates your taste buds.
Having several cup competitions is critical to the development of the domestic league not only through the incentives but through increasing competitiveness among players and teams.
It is therefore my wish that other companies would take the cue from LNIG, Alliance Insurance Company, Metropolitan Lesotho, Vodacom Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank and others who are sponsoring various competitions.
It remains to point out that the issue of lack of sponsorship in local sports should not be taken for granted as it continues to be a stumbling block to the development of sport because without a strong financial muscle there will be limited or no development at all.
But it also takes two to tango and our sports administrators should also play their part by putting their houses in order and ensure there is transparency and overall good corporate governance which is an essential to attracting sponsors.