WITH HIGHLANDERS set to announce a new local coach today, the whole issue at the club, like at Dynamos, had to come down from reduced budgets from their principal sponsors BancABC for the coming season.
In the just ended season, both teams enjoyed similar $700 000 packages from the regional banking group, but that has been whittled down by about 43% as the economy wrecks havoc, and with no sign of an immediate recovery, on all and sundry.
BancABC have been partners to Dynamos and Highlanders in the last four years, paying salaries of players and technical team and acquiring Adidas kits for them, but what have the clubs done on their part to increase revenue streams to complement sponsorship from the bank?
The word at 50 Robert Mugabe Way, the Bosso headquarters, is that, it is cheaper to get a local coach than a foreigner — Desmond Bulpin who would have wanted $4 000 a month, plus airfares and accommodation — due to reduced funding from their sponsors.
And when you hear players like Charles Sibanda talking about a prospective employer’s budget and that he cannot sign a new contract for now because of that, one has to know that, indeed, things have gone awry.
And Dynamos, after winning their fourth league title in a row, are not participating in the Caf Champions League, whose draw took place yesterday in Cairo, Egypt, because they do not have the finances to do so.
Or simply out, they were waiting for a handout from BancABC.
Chapungu are the other team sponsored by the bank through BancEasy and, add to that, newly promoted Flame Lily.
These are armed services teams that can get some dollar or two from their owners, but not so for Dynamos and Highlanders.
The country’s two most successful teams are community owned, and depend on fans at the stadia as they attract at least 10 000 of them per home game.
Highlanders, on the better side, have their own properties-clubhouse, club headquarters and camping house-but they have not done enough to turn those resources into money.
And for Bosso, the situation is worse — when the results are bad, the fans stay away and last season had to do with about a 1000 supporters watching their home games at Hartsfield Rugby Fields.
Dynamos don’t have any properties, but have one big asset — supporters.
While the fans do not obviously number 7 million as they say, they are big enough to make Dynamos a huge commercial entity via various marketing methods.
One good example of a club that has not waited to be spoon-fed is FC Platinum.
While they have all the financial muscle from Mimosa Mining Company — their parent owners — they have diversified into lodgings, catering, landscaping and entertainment to make their own money, as the Caf Club Licensing Regulations dictate that clubs must be run like companies.
Highlanders and Dynamos have had seed capital for years-starting with Savanna Tobacco, Bakers Inn and now BancABC, but have lacked the cutting edge in marketing themselves.
So Dynamos cannot mourn and say BancABC did not fund their Champions League campaign, or that Castle Lager sponsorship is low.
No, that is not football.
Clubs make money from commercial activities and cup competitions and not league prize money. In South Africa, it’s a fact that Platinum Stars, after winning two cup competitions last season and Orlando Pirates, made more money that the eventual league winners Mamelodi Sundowns.
Sundowns earned R10 million rands while Platinum Stars earned R12,2 million. Orlando Pirates, who lost in three cup finals, including the Champions League final, earned the highest at
Going forward and the template of BancABC as far as football is concerned, being unknown, Dynamos’ chairman Keni Mubaiwa and Highlanders chairman Peter Dube, have to find ways to fund their operations.
Embracing club licensing is a step further or they will play second fiddle to corporate backed clubs like Platinum, Hwange, Triangle, How Mine, ZPC Kariba and Harare City. Or simply go the Zimbabwe Saints way!
WHAT CLUB LICENSING SEEKS TO ACHIEVE
Competitions and Club Licensing: Role of CAF, Federations, Leagues and Clubs
Professional Development of Clubs: Managerial and Finance
Infrastructural Development of Clubs and Stadia
TV Rights, Broadcasting and Production of matches in Africa
Marketing of Competitions and Sponsorship for clubs
Club Licensing System in other Confederations (UEFA, AFC)