Miloane Soccer Tournament on the Rise



MASERU – The Annual Miloane Foundation Soccer Tournament is getting bigger and better each year, both on and off the field. Apart from the fact that this year’s edition attracted a number of sponsors, it was also greater than before as far as football development is concerned.

Boosted by the usual presence and support of the retired South African referee and SABC analyst, Victor Hlungwane, amongst others, this grassroots tournament is on the rise. Attesting to this, Matala Fairways coach, Keketso Seboka said the competition has always been crucial for the survival of the community clubs.

He was named the Coach of the Tournament after his team won the 2023 Miloane Foundation Soccer Tournament in Lithabaneng, Maseru, last Saturday. “This tournament is very crucial for the survival of our teams if, since its inception, we have had about six playing kits,” said Seboka in a post-match interview with Public Eye.

“Even LeFA (the Lesotho Football Association) games that we play in their leagues cannot be compared to this tournament.” Seboka said that in order to get a playing kit from the local football body, a team must be champions of one of the country’s lower divisions. The Miloane Foundation Soccer Tournament, Seboka said, has also created friendship and unity between their teams.

He also said the tournament has improved tremendously over the years.  “I am confident to say the tournament has improved. For instance, Fairways were playing with eight Premier League players and six players from A Division teams,” he said. Seboka said even though the tournament was intended for lower division teams, they could not disallow players from top-flight leagues to participate in the play-offs.

“We could not disallow the players from the top-flight leagues to participate in the tournament, playing for their respective community teams.” The founder of the tournament, Phillip Miloane, grew up in Ha Seoli, Maseru, but has since relocated to South Africa, where he works for Rand Water with Hlungwana.

Miloane started the tournament with the influence of Hlungwane, who also has a similar tournament in his home village, Giyani, South Africa. “Even though I live in South Africa, I grew up in Ha Seoli; hence, I found it necessary to plough back into my home community,” said Miloane. “I began this tournament after reading about Victor Hlungwani’s foundation tournament in the Sowetan Newspaper.”

Miloane further said: “Initially, it was called the Phillip Miloane Foundation Soccer Tournament, but I decided to rename it the Miloane Foundation Soccer Tournament because I work together with my younger brother Mosiuoa Miloane who is also the tournament’s organiser.”

The main purpose of the competition, Mosiuoa said, is to promote grassroots football development. “The main purpose is to promote grassroots soccer development, as you can see that the teams competing in this tournament are from the lower divisions,” Mosiuoa also said.  He further noted: “This year’s edition was comparatively successful, having been graced by the presence of a Cabinet Minister, Mr. Mokhethi Shelile, who is also an MP for the Lithabaneng constituency. We also had new sponsors like Monate-nate Water from South Africa, amongst others.”

Other sponsors included Tlhoeko Sanitary Solutions, the Victor Hlugwani Foundation, Phillip Miloane, and Michka Mutombe from the Republic of Congo. Tlhoeko Sanitary Solutions has been sponsoring the tournament since its inception in 2016. This year’s title was competed for by 16 teams, with Matala Fairways becoming the champions after beating Mafofela 3-0 in the final.

Matala Fairways received the winning trophy, gold medals, a playing kit, and soccer balls, while the runners-up, Mafofela, got silver, a playing kit, and soccer balls. Makhakheng collected bronze for third place, while Seoli Liverpool received soccer nets for fourth place. The 16 teams that competed for the title were from Ha Seoli, Lithoteng, Qoaling, Ha Abi, Lithabaneng, and Ha Matala, all in Maseru.

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