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Date: 21 March 2019

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Corporate sponsorship returning to Zim football

[Posted 23 Feb 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
The Mighty Warriors have struck Diamonds! Sign of good times rolling back into Zim soccer

The Zimbabwe national women's Under 20 team received one of the best sponsorship packages ever received by a national team in the country, a total of about US$3 million worth of a deal from the Marange Diamong Mining company.

Now, that is real evidence that there is money available to support national soccer teams in the country, demistifying the perception that there is no money for supporting sporting activities.

On Friday 18 February, Marange Resources, a diamond mining company in the country, announced the sponsorship deal for the Under 20 national team, for expenses such as travelling and home matches expenses, playing and training kits, some branding apparel, and playing bonuses to the total tune of $3m.

It is not clear for how long the deal will last, but it's a very good indication of where Zimbabwean football is heading towards in terms of corporate support.

For long, we have been made to believe that there is no money in Zimbabwe because of the economic hardships, and that was given as the reason why the Warriors suffer from the perennial funding problems.

That changed last year when Delta Beverages entered the stage and unveiled a US$1m deal through their Castle Lager brand to fund the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League for the next three years.

Following hard on the heels of the Delta Beverages move was a sponsorship by the mining giants Mbada Diamonds, who unvieled a US$1m package for the Mbada Diamonds Cup knockout tournament for the next three years.

Then followed the gesture by Marange Resources, who apart from the $3m injection to support the women national teams ONLY, they will also sponsor the Zimbabwe Women Soccer League to the tune of $1m.

Good times are defintely rolling back into Zimbabwean football.

BUT wait a minute! All this, has not yet benefited the national soccer game's biggest and most attractive brand, all things being equal, that is, the Warriors.

And the question which you and me are asking ourselves is, "But (Mara) why?"

It is not difficult to understand that ZIFA has up to this stage failed to spruce up an image of bad governance, lack of transparency and a poor accountability record, despite the ZIFA House having new occupants ever since the Wellington Nyatanga board moved out.

And despite Zifa's spirited pursuit of the so-called Asiagate scandal which has sucked in nearly 80% of its own board members, the poor image of Zifa has not improved at all.

The Zifa board recently claimed that there are corporate sponsors waiting on the wings, ready to come aboard after the conclusion of the Asiagate scandal, in which Zifa stands accused of not having handled appropriately.

Yet, sponsors appear not convinced about Zifa's leadership abilities at a number of levels, given the board's challenges with handling things like simply organising just a bus to take players to Gaborone for a friendly match against Botswana on 7 January, Zifa's blundering on handling the so-called referees crisis a few months ago, and the chaos regarding promotion of teams from various Division one regions into the Castle Lager PSL.

It is therefore understandable that sponsors will, for now, choose to pour their hard-earned cash to the less followed and less supported women's national soccer team, the Mighty Warriors, currently enjoying good leadership of one Mavis Gumbo, rather than risking their image by committing resources to the just Warriors cause, only because of a ZIFA board which still suffers from a credibility deficiency . 

Mbada Diamonds, for example, will choose to give US$150 000 to Motor Action who are participating in the CAF Confederations Cup, and an additional $50 000 per each match, get this right, per each match, as winning bonuses.

So, there is money in Zimbabwe to support football right? But none is currently going into Zifa coffers, save for that part of Zifa called Mavis Gumbo. Interesting, isn't it?

When will the Zifa men get the message, that the corporate players in the country are passing a vote of no confidence in them by directing their funding elsewhere, when sponsors know pretty well that they are likely to get a better mileage from the Warriors' games than the Mighty Warriors'?

After all has been said, it is important to reiterate that the coming on board of Marange Resources to fund our beloved Mighty Warriors is a sign of great times rolling back into Zimbabwean football, even if our poor Warriors are being passed by all these good things.


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