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FOR the past few years, Zimbabwean football has been going through hard times with the topflight league, lower leagues as well as individual clubs failing to attract meaningful sponsorship deals.

Only the two top clubs in the country, Highlanders and Dynamos and a few other so-called small teams, Black Mambas, CAPS United, Black Rhinos, Buffaloes and now recently Chapungu enjoyed a bit of support. Highlanders and Dynamos were sponsored by Savanna Tobacco through their Pacific brand before one of the country’s leading financial institutions, BancABC took over.

Black Mambas also got support from BancEasy while Black Rhinos was bankrolled by Savanna, with Buffaloes getting support from Mbada Diamonds. It was especially tough for those clubs that did not get any form of support seeing most of them crumbling.

But from the look of things, the sun seems to be shining again for local football as a number of sponsorship deals have been agreed on thereby improving the quality of football, competition as well as the general outlook of the game.

PSL started the ball rolling by clinching yet another three-year sponsorship deal with Delta Beverages. In addition to the league sponsorship, Delta Beverages rolled out yet another 16-team tournament — Chibuku Cup –which will be sponsored through their traditional beer brand, Chibuku.

The league was however unfortunate to start without a season opener but an eight-team tournament is on the cards soon.

It is also believed that mobile network operator NetOne, who used to sponsor the season opener, have graduated to take over the Sup8r Cup after the pulling out of BancABC.

Local football scored yet another goal as Northern Region Division One league secured a lucrative sponsorship deal with World Navi, a Japanese company involved in selling Japanese second-hand cars.

The agreement is that the league will get three cars and playing kits this season with an option for renewal.

The same is about to happen with three other Division One leagues as sponsorship promises have been coming from all over.

Highlanders and Dynamos renewed their marriage with BancABC, with Chapungu still having a running contract with Banc Easy Rhinos still have faith in Savanna. However, for Buffaloes, it’s not yet clear whether they have renewed their relationship with Mbada Diamonds.

A few more clubs in the unfashionable world of Division One have successfully concluded sponsorship deals that will lessen the burden on companies and other individuals who have been bankrolling the clubs.

All that is now left is for Zifa and PSL to work on their image to improve chances of luring more sponsors into local football.

l For views and comment email bnkiwane@standard.co.zw or sms 0775341029

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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