THE absence of Dynamos and Highlanders in the NetOne Charity Shield is a blessing in disguise for the mobile service provider.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI
Additionally, another team in the same bracket as Dynamos and Highlanders, Black Mambas — all sponsored by BancABC — also failed to make the cut.
Since last year’s fracas when the final between Dynamos and Motor Action was almost stopped due to a disagreement over the branding of the kits, there has been acrimony between the league champions and NetOne.
Dynamos won the cup, but could not receive the $50 000 prize money after they refused to wear the NetOne branded jerseys citing contractual obligations with their principal sponsor BancABC.
A year on, NetOne has not given Dynamos that money and the mobile company has stated they will give each of the 18 players named for last year’s final $500 each as a token of appreciation for taking part. This has further incensed the Dynamos leadership who declared they would not play in this year’s games even if they were voted for.
But a strong media campaign saw most Dynamos fans vote for Monomotapa instead.
Monomotapa will now join FC Platinum, Chicken Inn and Caps United in this morning’s draw. The semi-finals are likely to be played at Mandava Stadium on Saturday and if all logistics are put in place in time, the final will be held at the same venue the following day.
Pay-per-view television giant Supersport, who intend to televise 60 matches this season between Wednesdays and Sundays and in the evenings, are planning a trip this weekend to Zimbabwe to cover the Charity Shield.
But that will also depend on the willingness of the sponsors NetOne to bend their own expectations and understand that “it can be done”.
Early this year, BancABC finally came out of their shell and invited other corporates to come into football sponsorship.
This was after Dynamos had stated that they would accept the $150 000 Mbada Diamonds subsidy from the mining company if their principal sponsor agreed to it.
BancABC then warmed up to the deal and Mbada came in.
This saw Dynamos donning jerseys in the Caf Champions League emblazoned with corporate logos from both Mbada and BancABC.
It was then expected that a similar deal might be struck between BancABC and NetOne if Highlanders, Dynamos and Black Mambas were to make the cut in this year’s Charity Shield which, for the first time, was decided by fans through a voting system.
Dynamos, who have the biggest support base in Zimbabwe, finished in fifth place with 10 275 votes, while the second most popular team in the country, Highlanders, finished sixth with 8 080 votes.
Monomotapa garnered the highest number of votes, amassing a total of 20 825, mainly coming from Dynamos who used the power of social media to campaign for the 2008 champions as a result of their wrangle with NetOne.
Caps United were second with 16 013 votes, while Chicken Inn, with a fast-foods network across the country and a big employer, were third with 15 558 votes.
Platinum, who met with their supporters last Wednesday to unveil new coach Tennant Chilumba, were fourth with 11 585 votes.
So for NetOne, it’s smooth sailing this year. They would have thought to co-brand their kits for Platinum, who are sponsored by FBC Bank, and Monomotapa, who are bankrolled by Chroma Paints, and Chicken Inn funded by the fast-foods giants.