M6m sponsorship deal for LISA



MASERU – Econet Telecom Lesotho on Tuesday this week announced a sponsorship deal to the tune of M6 million to the Lesotho Institutions Sports Associations (LISA) in a colourful occasion held in Maseru.

The three-year sponsorship is broken into M2 million packages for each year. LISA is the mother-body for the secondary and high schools’ sports in the country, and includes sporting codes such as, athletics, football, netball, volleyball, basketball and chess, amongst others. Econet General Manager – Marketing and Customer Experience, ’Mapusetso Ntšekhe, said the deal was signed in December 2021 with the hope that the Covid-19 pandemic, which had forced closure of schools, would have subsided to allow for schools sporting activities to proceed.

Ntšekhe said they decided to launch the sponsorship now because the curfew and other restrictions have been eased. “During the term of this contract, LISA undertakes to help secondary and high schools across the country who participate in different sports,” said Ntšekhe. “The sporting codes that students will participate in include netball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, athletics, debate and chess.”

Ntšekhe further said: “We have been investing in education since 2011. As Nelson Mandela once said ‘education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world and we, at Econet, believe that sport is an essential element of education.” The Econet General Manager Marketing further quoted American business man, Darell Hammond when he said “The American business man named Darell Hammond also said ‘we are taking sports too far and starting kids too early, and yes, that’s what Econet is also doing, catching them young.”

Ntšekhe said the main purpose of the funding was to encourage children to participate in sports at an early age so as to be able to nurture their talent. “The purpose of encouraging children to participate in sports at an early age is to nurture their talent and create future coaches (and referees) like Souru Phatšoane who became the first referee from Lesotho to assist in officiating the AFCON finals between Senegal and Egypt over the past weekend,” Ntšekhe said, adding that Phatšoane should not be the last.

LISA president, Teboho Pholo, revealed this partnership with Econet started a few years back. Pholo said at the time Econet was just giving them average support as a partner – not in the formalized structure the relationship has been elevated to. “We approached Econet some few years back and they later agreed to sponsor us even though at the time they gave us just an average sponsorship,” said Pholo in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday.

The LISA boss said they persuaded Econet for a long term sponsorship but they could not succeed since the telecommunications company was at the time the main sponsor of the Lesotho Premier League. “But immediately after they parted ways with the Premier League we went back to them and they promised to come back. So it was only last year when they invited us to a round table discussion where we agreed terms.”

Pholo said schools will benefit a lot from the Econet sponsorship. He said unlike before when schools used to pay referees by themselves, this time around those expenses would be taken care of by LISA through the Econet sponsorship from sub-zones to the zones. LISA president also said there would also be prizes for the winners, unlike before when the winners only got medals. “But this time around we are going to have prizes,” Pholo said.

At the same time, Pholo said this would help them to bring students back to the playing grounds because everyone would be engaged, since they would be having different sporting activities for them. The M6 million sponsorship for LISA is worth the same amount of financial support which Econet invested in football in recent years sponsoring the Lesotho Premier League.

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