PowerTel were on Wednesday unveiled as the new partners for the national Sevens Rugby team, the Cheetahs, ahead of the start of their 2015-2016 season at the Safland Windhoek Sevens which gets underway in Namibia on Friday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The partnership agreement, is worth over $11 000, will see the Cheetahs becoming the company’s brand ambassadors while the new sponsors have also pledged to make a contribution to the team’s high performance programme.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union chief executive officer Coleen de Jong said they were grateful for the support which comes at a time the Cheetahs are aiming to qualify for next year’s Rio Olympics.
The Cheetahs have also set their sights on becoming a core team on the lucrative HSBC World Sevens Series next year after coming agonisingly close early this year.
“We are very proud and happy to announce the partnership with PowerTel. We want to thank them for their support, endorsement and commitment to the Zimbabwe Cheetahs,” De Jong said.
“Going forward, PowerTel has provided to each team member a personal wifi router, phone and a telephone line as well as airtime for the devices. They will also brand the team’s training and playing kit for the whole year. They will make a contribution towards the team’s high performance programme in preparation for what will be a long partnership in 2016, where the Cheetahs are aiming to qualify for the Rio Olympics,” she said.
PowerTel marketing manager Prosper Mutswiri said: “As PowerTel, we are very excited to partner with the Cheetahs. We felt we needed to give back to the community and find partners to walk with, ie, to represent the brand. We believe from now going forward the Cheetahs will become our brand ambassadors and will be able to push the brand through sport.”
Cheetahs coach Daniel Hondo, who will lead the national sevens side in an international tournament for the first time this season, said he was confident the sponsorship would motivate his charges.
“This sponsorship will definitely motivate the players because it shows them that people are actually seeing what they are doing when they represent the country,” he said.
Hondo named three uncapped players in his final squad for the Safland Windhoek Sevens in a move that he hopes will give the side more options ahead of their participation at the Safari Sevens next month and the Olympic qualifiers in November.
The three uncapped named in the side are utility backs Tadius Dzandiwandira, Takudzwa Kumadiro and promising winger Takudzwa Francisco.
Germany-based speedster Tafadzwa Chitokwindo will captain the side in the absence of veteran skipper Jacques Leitao, who is not available for the trip due to work commitments.
Highly-rated University of Johannesburg scrumhalf Hilton Mudariki among the South Africa-based players is in the squad together with Biselele Tshamala and Shayne Makombe.
In Namibia the Cheetahs are expected to face their stiffest competition from the SA Sevens Academy, while other teams that have confirmed their participation are hosts Namibia, Poland, Northern All Stars, Bulls, and Botswana.
Cheetahs Squad: Boyd Rouse, Biselele Tshamala, Shayne Makombe, Hilton Mudariki, Tadius Dzandiwandira, Takudzwa Kumadiro, Stephan Hunduza, Graham Kaulback, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo (captain), Lucky Sithole, Kuda Chiwanza, Takudzwa Francisco