Corporate sponsorship crucial for football

HARARE - Unlike in Zimbabwe, football the world over is powered by big corporates who pour in millions of dollars in sponsorship.

The corporates in turn receive mileage as they ride on the football teams’ popularity thereby promoting their brands and exposing them to wider audiences.

Against this, it is encouraging that South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman Justice Maphosa is on the verge of sealing a deal that will see his Big Time Strategic Group sponsoring Bulawayo football giants, Highlanders.

Big Time Strategic Group has over the years shown its muscle when it comes to sponsorship of events, starting with the spectacular annual Gwanda Music Festival, then the Miss Tourism and recently the Harare International Carnival.

The group’s partnering with Highlanders Football Club will bring financial stability to the team, hence improve the welfare of players.

Only yesterday, mobile telecommunications firm NetOne also announced a $1 million sponsorship for powerhouses CAPS United, Dynamos and Highlanders for the upcoming season.

NetOne and Big Time Strategic Group sponsorships for the coming season will stabilise the three teams who have been finding it hard to go it alone.

It is our hope that Premier League teams will operate differently this coming season by paying their players signing on fees and monthly salaries.

Reports this week that CAPS and Dynamos’ preparations for the 2018 Castle Lager Premiership season were put in disarray due to non-payment of players’ salaries, allowances and bonuses is sad for football development in the country.

On Tuesday, CAPS players refused to train, demanding their outstanding dues dating back to last season amid reports that they had not been paid for the past five months while some  of the technical members had gone for a year without pay.

As a result of non-payment of players’ salaries, a number of the team’s players have left the side altogether, seeking greener pastures.

On the other hand, Dynamos players on Monday refused to board a bus to Nyanga for a five-day training camp also demanding their outstanding dues.

The Dynamos’ player boycott could cost them the deal they recently struck with the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority who had availed a sponsorship package in which they were to undertake a training camp at one of their recreational facilities in Nyanga for five days.

It is our hope that with the coming in of big corporates like NetOne and Big Time Strategic Group to sponsor three of our biggest clubs, the issue of non-payment of players’ salaries will be a thing of the past at these clubs because turmoil in football clubs chases away sponsors.

Football sponsors can only put their money when there is order in domestic football because they (sponsors) have brands to protect.

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