For the love of the game

For the love of the game

MASERU-Tšenola businessman Lekhooa Katiba has spent close to M20 000 of his own money to help his local team, ACE Maseru, since he started sponsoring the team in 2018.

Katiba is a shop owner in Tšenola and, although he doesn’t own a stake in the team, on match-days he buys water and energy drinks for the team and has done so for three years without fail.
In a local football landscape where there is scant money for lower league clubs, Katiba has essentially been the lifeblood of the A-Division outfit which dreams of one day making it to the top league.

As a passionate football fan, Katiba says he felt the need to help his local club and decided to do so with his own money.
Since the start of the coronavirus, Katiba has also been moved to help his community at large. Two weeks ago in a joint effort with the owners of ACE Maseru, Katiba helped donate food parcels worth roughly M10 000 to 100 Tšenola residents who were in need.

Speaking to thepost on Wednesday, the humble shop owner said the COVID-19 pandemic has hit his business hard because he is not able to get goods and supplies from South Africa because of lockdown restrictions.
However, even though his business has taken a nosedive, Katiba insisted it is important to share the little there is with people who may not have anything at all.

“ACE Maseru is a team owned by white people and when the COVID-19 started affecting people I got in touch with them to say, ‘hey, we have to do something to help’, and they were very happy to do so,” he said.
“As a businessman you realise when you are helping people one-by-one they come to the shop and (buy) something on credit but they don’t even how they are going to pay, so you just help,” Katiba added.
“The little we have we share with other people in the community, the COVID-19 has hit us badly, there are things I would like to do to raise money but now we can’t, it has been bad,” he added.

Katiba hails from Thaba-Tseka. He revealed that each year he has a plan to help elderly people in Thaba-Tseka when it is winter but this year it has not been possible to do so.
His favourite team ACE Maseru are third in the South Stream with 23 points from 16 games and while it might be impossible for the club to gain promotion this season; they are likely to be in the Nedbank 8 Cup at the end of the season, if the football campaign resumes.

Whatever happens, ACE Maseru and its players will be able to rely on Katiba’s unwavering and much-needed support.
“I played football in school so ACE Maseru is the local team and I decided three years ago that with my shop I am going to support them and every match day we are either buying water or energy drinks for the players,” Katiba said.

“It’s not only the team that I help, but I help with players too depending on the needs. Sometimes you want to help but you just can’t.”

Tlalane Phahla

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