NetOne boost

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Mobile phone operator NetOne yesterday unveiled a reviewed sponsorship package of $250 000 up from last year’s $200 000 for the second edition of the football season curtain raiser, the Charity Shield, set for the National Sports Stadium on
Sunday.

The upward review of the sponsorship package will see the winners pocketing $50 000 which is over double the amount won by Dynamos who got $20 000 after beating Motor Action on penalties in last year’s match at Rufaro.

The runner-up will walk away with $25 000 with the rest of the prize fund and the net gate takings being channelled to charity.

Tickets for the match will cost $10 for bays 15-16, $3 for the rest of the ground while VVIP will be strictly by invitation.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony at a local hotel yesterday, which was attended by representatives from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the participating teams, NetOne managing director Reward Kangai said:
“NetOne and the Premier Soccer League are delighted to advise you that the NetOne Charity Shield continues this year as promised. Last year we unveiled this relationship with a total sponsorship package of $200 000.

“This year it’s gotten bigger and better as NetOne is investing $250 000 towards the successful hosting of this soccer tournament with the winning team pocketing $50 00 and the runner up getting $25 000.

“The rest will go towards marketing activities like food and accommodation for the players, uniforms and advertising. The net proceeds from the gate takings as you know go to charitable institutions across the breadth and length of the country and these will be made public after the match at the time of presentation of awards.”

Kangai said his institution had identified 10 charity organisations around the country where the funds will be channelled.

“We have identified 10 institutions around the country where the proceeds will be channelled. As NetOne we have always believed in investing in people, changing lives, making a positive impact to the community. We run a ‘Touch a child’s heart’ initiative, which is a project where we identify orphanages across the country who take care of disadvantaged children, assist them with what they need the most. Today we will make a difference by sponsoring a soccer match which will help raise funds for the needy,” said Kangai.

PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele said: “The NetOne Charity Shield is an important fixture on our calendar not because it’s the first match of the season but because of the fact that it’s played for a worthy cause.

“Our partnership with NetOne is designed to transform lives. We are glad the partnership continues to receive support from all stakeholders. The tournament which is a curtain raiser for the league championship draws its inspiration from the Fifa fair play code which encourages the positive use of the power of football to create a better world.”

Following an uproar from local football stakeholders following the appointment of South African referees for the Mbada Diamonds Cup final, Ndebele said the league’s governing body had decided that local referees would handle the match. The two coaches for the respective teams, Joey Antipas and Callisto Pasuwa, who were both present at the launch ceremony, both declared they would be taking the match seriously.

Pasuwa said he was hopeful that his misfiring strikers would find their goal-scoring touch ahead of their Caf African Champions League first round first leg match away to Liga Muculmana of Mozambique next week.

“We have 30 players registered for the PSL and 25 for the Champions League so there is no way we will field an under-strength team. Our strikers have been shy in front of goal but hopefully this match will be an opportunity for them to gain some confidence before the match in Mozambique,” Pasuwa said.

Antipas, whose side got their off season on a disappointing note after being knocked out at the preliminary stage in the Caf Confederation Cup, said he now had a full complement of players after 10 of his players had been dogged by injuries.

“I was at training with the boys this morning (yesterday) and all the 10 guys who were down with injuries are back at training. During the match against Leopards we had to use a makeshift defence as our two first-choice defenders were down with injuries. Now they are back and we have our full squad so Dynamos should watch out,” said a confident Antipas.