Africa-Press – Lesotho. Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) has spent over M800 000 to promote rugby in Lesotho over the past decade. The telecommunications giants have been with the Federation of Lesotho Rugby (FLR) since the association’s inception in 2011 and are the only company that has been there for rugby every step of the way.
It is no wonder the company regards rugby as their ‘baby’ and say it is very close to their hearts. When Econet started supporting rugby, they were helping clubs by buying them playing kits and equipment. That was before the national team, Likatola, was formed.
When the FLR was hit with a tragic accident in June 2019 that claimed the lives of five Mabote Beavers players in Bloemfontein, Econet was the first to offer monetary support to the victims and their families.
Econet’s public relations officer, Puleng Masoabi, said it is the company’s wish to see the national team compete in the best tournaments in the world.
Last year Econet took their sponsorship to the next level by supporting the whole league and re-branding it. The national rugby league is now called the Econet Rugby League.
The total sponsorship was M100 000 for one year and it has been renewed by another year on the same terms. “We started supporting rugby since its inception here in Lesotho, it was just clubs at the time, we did not have Likatola then,” Masoabi said.
“We were supporting clubs with a kit and monthly airtime (and) last year we started supporting the league, and it’s called Econet Rugby League.
“We plan to review it annually.
(Econet’s) intention is to support rugby because we come from far away with them, from when it was introduced.
Our aim is to support it and participate in world competitions, we will review every year and see what is needed but for now it did not change because of the coronavirus but we want sport to continue,” Masoabi said.
In 2019, the company dressed Likatola with a brand new kit ahead of their Rugby Africa Regional Sevens South championship that was held here in Lesotho, spending over M90 000.
“(The FLR) are focused on young kids, they go to schools and teach kids and give them a choice in sporting codes. For kids now, if they are not good at football it’s not an issue, they can excel in rugby.”