|Newly-promoted Swallows are on the up and up...|
Newly-promoted Swallows will get an early chance to showcase their skills on the national stage when they take part in this year’s Alliance Winter Challenge.
In April the Mazenod side won promotion to next season’s Econet Premier League after winning the A-Division South Stream and a month later Maswai-swai completed a first division double by claiming the A-Division Top 8 title.
Their success has earned Swallows their first invite to the pre-season Winter Challenge tournament in July which is sponsored by insurance company, Alliance Insurance.
The competition was launched in 2015 is contested by the three Premiership clubs sponsored by Alliance – namely Matlama, Lioli and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) – as well as a fourth invitee.
In 2015’s debut competition it was Liphakoe the guest team; in 2016 it was Sundawana while last year it was eventual league winners Bantu who completed the tournament’s quartet.
Maswai-swai public relations officer Lekoala Ralekoala said Swallows are excited to be part of the showpiece for the first time and are determined to prove themselves against their stellar opponents.
“As a new team in the (Econet) Premier League we are honoured to be invited for such a big tournament and even though we are going to face big teams, we are not only going there to participate but to compete,” Ralekoala said.
Since its introduction the Alliance Winter Challenge has grown into the country’s flagship pre-season football tournament. Ralekoala said Swallows hope the competition will give them the exposure to attract sponsors to help the club in what will be their first time in the Premier League since 2011.
“We know it will not be easy to win the cup but if we can play good football then we can increase our chances of attracting sponsors into the team,” Ralekoala said.
LCS will enter the 2018 Alliance Winter Challenge as two-time defending champions after winning the title last year and in 2016. Last year Masheshena beat Matlama 1-0 in the final.