Vodacom out, Econet storm in

Vodacom out, Econet storm in

Maseru – Telecommunications giant Econet Telecom Lesotho will replace rivals Vodacom Lesotho in a massive deal to sponsor the Premier League, thepost can reveal.

Sources say the contract will be worth a landmark M2 million and will cover the 2017/18 season.

The record coup is set to be officially announced on Friday evening at Maseru Avani, thepost understands.

Both Econet and the Premier League have feverishly tried to keep the deal under wraps with officials from both sides refusing to comment or claiming ignorance.

However, sources close to the deal also confirmed that the deal’s pending announcement was the main reason why the start of the new league season was postponed.

The Premier League was originally scheduled to kick-off last weekend and, with the Econet deal finalised, the season will finally begin on Saturday, sources confirmed.

Econet’s deal is a shock.

Vodacom has been the elite league’s sponsor since 2009 when it made a similarly spectacular entrance into local football with a then-record M1 million yearly sponsorship of the top-flight.

There had been no indications Vodacom’s partnership with the premier league would end even though there have been hiccups recently such as this year’s delay in the payment of league club’s grants.

Econet’s sponsorship is believed to be M2 million which is double what Vodacom was offering. The contract is for one season and will be reviewed at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

“Yes, it is true. Vodacom is out and Econet has come on board. It is a done deal. It will be announced on Friday,” a source told thepost.

When contacted for comment, Econet public relations officer Puleng Masoabi could not confirm or deny any deal exists.

“I cannot confirm such, if there is anything you will be invited,” is all Masoabi said.

Premier league public relations officer Mosito Lekholoa also refused to be drawn on speculation around Friday’spending announcement.

The deal, nevertheless, marks a return to Lesotho football for Econet.

Econet, through its Buddie product, sponsored the Premier League and lower division football from 2003 until 2009 when it was replaced by Vodacom. Econet’s M2 million one-season investment into the Premier League is the richest deal in the history of Lesotho football.

Luciah Phahla

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