Relief for big three as NetOne seals DeMbare, Bosso and Makepekepe deal

HARARE - In A development that could change the face of the local game, mobile telecommunications company NetOne last night finally unveiled a $1 million sponsorship for the country’s three big football clubs – Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United.

The deal was announced at a colourful ceremony held in Greendale, Harare, and each team will receive $350 000 for salaries for the whole year as well as help to meet part of their signing-on fees.

DeMbare and Bosso saw their six-year partnership with BancABC come to an end last year and were desperate for new partners while Makepekepe have been struggling to attract sponsors in recent years.

It had become difficult for the three traditional football giants to compete on the transfer market with such financially stable teams like FC Platinum, Triangle and Ngezi Platinum Stars among others.

Just this week, Dynamos and CAPS United players downed tools due to non-payment of their salaries and allowances some dating back to last season.

Due to non-availability of funds, CAPS United has struggled to retain some of their preferred players.

Midfielder Moses Muchenje chose to join Zifa Northern Region Division One side Harare City while efforts to retain talented midfielder Devon Chafa appear to have hit a brick wall and he is now being linked with a move away from the club.

During last night’s unveiling ceremony, NetOne acting chief executive Brian Mutandiro said: “After ensuring that our beloved Warriors participated at the continental showcase, the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt last year by pouring in $250 000, the people’s favourite network is back again, channelling over $1 million to these three heavyweights of Zimbabwean football.

“Each of them is set to receive $350 000 for their operations and other related expenses in the 2018 season. Let me hasten to say, we as NetOne envisage this partnership to be a win-win situation as we anticipate clubs to play their respective parts in promoting our brand and endearing it to their multitude of supporters.

“Various initiatives will be rolled out the entire year as we seek to make the partnership sustainable.  What it means is that clubs benefiting from our sponsorship have a major role to play for this partnership to be a success.

“As a business, our objective is for the clubs to be able to encourage their supporters to use more of the numerous NetOne packages available, to sustain the sponsorship going forward.

“Once this ambitious project succeeds, we see no reason why we should not come back with a much bigger offering next year and if this happens, everyone becomes a winner, especially football, the beautiful game.”

Mutandiro added: “It is our hope as NetOne that the sponsorship we are unveiling here today will help transform the standards of football in the country and ultimately benefit the national team itself.”

Dynamos president Kenni Mubaiwa thanked NetOne for its support and predicted a bright future for the club ahead of the 2018 Castle Lager Premiership season.

“As Dynamos, we would like to thank NetOne for answering our calls especially in this harsh environment where very few companies are willing to part with their hard-earned cash to sponsor football,” Mubaiwa said.

“The deal has come when we are preparing for the 2018 season and I know it will help us reclaim the title we last won in 2014. The partnership will surely encourage us to do well this year and it is a morale booster as it will enable players and coaches to fully concentrate on playing the game without any headaches.

“We will give NetOne the mileage they deserve and we are calling on our fans to help us strengthen our newly-found partnership by purchasing NetOne lines and airtime.”

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