LONG-TIME football sponsors Savanna Tobacco are back in the Castle Lager Premiership after their team, Black Rhinos, confirmed their place with the big guns over the weekend.
REPORT BY SPORTS REPORTER
Rhinos were relegated from the Premiership in 2009, enduring three years of Division One football.
Chipembere, as they are better known by their supporters, were crowned Zifa Northern Region champions after amassing an unassailable 62 points with three matches still to be played.
The army side becomes the first team from Division One this season to gain promotion into the elite PSL as other regions — Eastern, Central and Southern — are still to get their champions.
But all this success has been attributed to their sponsors Savanna Tobacco through their Pacific brand who walked with them in both the Premiership and in the unfashionable world of Division One.
The latest sponsorship deal was signed on August 9, 2012. The relationship between Savanna Tobacco and Black Rhinos FC goes back to 2006.
The biggest cigarette-manufacturing company in the country boasts of six years’ involvement in local soccer, having been previous involved with Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United.
The organisation has also participated in grassroots football development through tournaments across the country.
In 2006, Savanna provided soccer kits to the club which carried the Branson brand — one of their popular cigarette brands — as well as soccer balls. Another kit was provided in 2007, a period when all was not well for many companies in the country due to the economic meltdown.
Savanna stood firm and continued to support Rhinos. In spite of the then prevailing economic difficulties, Savanna chose to stay true to their promise with Black Rhinos as they have always believed in the club.
In 2009, 2011 and for the first half of the 2012 soccer season, Savanna provided Black Rhinos a home kit and saw it fit to enhance this partnership in the last half of the season by announcing this new addition to the sponsorship.
In addition to this, the company committed itself to providing winning bonuses to Black Rhinos for all the matches that they would win for the remaining part of the season both for players and the technical team and this has brought the success Rhinos has today.