Matlama, Bantu square off in LNIG Top 8 quarters

Matlama, Bantu square off in LNIG Top 8 quarters

Luciah Phahla

Maseru – Matlama drew Bantu in the pick of the 2017 Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) Top 8 quarterfinal ties.
The clash will be a quick sequel to the sides’ entertaining league meeting last weekend in which Matlama drew first blood and, even better for fans, their LNIG Top 8 duel will be contested over two legs.

The draw was conducted yesterday morning at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena; the first leg of the quarterfinals will take place on the weekend of February 4 and 5.

In other ties, defending champions Lioli will face Likhopo while Sundawana will meet Kick4Life.

In the last of the last eight match-ups, Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) will renew hostilities.

This year the LNIG Top 8’s sponsorship has been increased from M600 000 to M800 000. However, the winners’ jackpot remains the same with the champions taking home M100 000 and the runners-up receiving a cheque for M80 000.
There is a new innovation for this season’s edition, though, with an Under-17 competition introduced to run concurrently with the main tournament.

All eight teams in LNIG Top 8 will also have Under-17 teams competing in a similar knockout format. The youth sides will play following the same draw and schedule as the senior sides.
In the Under-17 tournament, the winners will earn M10 000, second place M8 000 while third and fourth will receive M6 000 and M5 000 respectively. The four losing quarterfinalist will console themselves with M2 500 each.

LNIG managing director Ralitapole Letsoela said the company has enjoyed a great relationship with the premier league and he vowed to continue working hand in hand with the league.
He continued that even though last year’s sponsorship was announced as M600 000, LNIG ended up spending M700 000 to cover the tournament and its logistics.

“In 2014 when we started the sponsorship was M300 000, (and) we doubled the money in 2015,” Letsoela said.

“The sponsorship amount was the same last year but we were met will challenges and we ended up spending M700 000.”
He added: “We are aware that hosting this tournament is becoming more and more challenging and we need additional resources. We will go back to the drawing board and plan again.”

This year only two grounds — Setsoto Stadium and Maputsoe DiFA Ground — will host LNIG Top 8 ties in order to give tournament sponsors maximum exposure, Premier League chairman John Leuta said.

Each venue will host a double header in the quarterfinal stage. Setsoto will host the semi-finals and final.
LNIG Top 8 draw:

Quarterfinals
Q1. Sundawana vs. Kick4Life
Q2. LDF vs. LCS
Q3. Likhopo vs. Lioli
Q4. Matlama vs. Bantu
Semi-finals
S1. Winner Q4 vs. Winner Q3
S2. Winner Q2 vs. Winner Q1

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