BY Kevin Mapasure
Premier Soccer League giants Highlanders and Dynamos have hailed their new-found partnership with energy giants Sakunda Holdings, who unveiled a sponsorship package of about US$5 million in Harare last night.
The two clubs will receive US$900 000 per year which will go towards salaries, bonuses and signing on fees.
Earlier in the day, Sakunda Holdings had released a statement confirming its sponsorship package for the country’s biggest football clubs.
‘Sakunda Holdings is pleased to announce its partnership with two of the biggest football clubs in the country, Dynamos and Highlanders,” the company said in a statement.
“The social corporate investment by Sakunda Holdings transcends all sectors of the economy and the financial sponsorship we are unveiling today will run for three seasons from September 2021.
“The financial package is expected to assist Dynamos and Highlanders football clubs to meet their expenses and obligations such that they run their businesses as professional football clubs.
“To this end, Sakunda Holdings is committing to paying each club US$890 000 annually (to be paid in ZWL equivalent) over the next three years.
“This means for the next three years, Sakunda Holdings will give financial assistance to the two clubs to the tune of US$ 5,3 million.
“It is imperative to note that the sponsorship is mainly for Dynamos and Highlanders to cover salaries and allowances, sign on fees and operational/administration costs.
“We look forward to a good working relationship with Dynamos and Highlanders football clubs over the next three seasons as we endeavour to bring back the glory times and generally improve football in our beloved country.”
Last night’s function was attended by Sports minister Kirsty Coventry, her deputy Tino Machakaire, Sports and Recreation Commission chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa and Zifa president Felton Kamambo among other top officials.
Highlanders said the deal would spur them to success.
“Sport does not exist in a vacuum, so if that innovation and creativity is not supported by fans, the media and corporates, who in actual sense are the lifeblood of the industry, the whole desire to grow sport is an exercise in futility,” said Highlanders chairperson Jonfart Sibanda.
“It is against this reality that we see Sakunda Holdings sponsorship beyond just Highlanders and Dynamos football clubs. To us it’s a clear intent and desire not only to support football but to grow sport as an industry and subsequently contributing to the growth of the economy given the fact that sport is growing to be one of the biggest employing industries at global level.”
Dynamos chairperson Isaiah Mupfurutsa said his club would safeguard its relationship with Sakunda Holdings.
“May I take this opportunity to give full assurance to Sakunda Holdings that this new-found business relationship between Sakunda Holdings and Dynamos will stand the test of time and at no time will the club disappoint Sakunda Holdings. We look forward to rekindling the fairy tale days of the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s and we shall be unleashing our team on our local football landscape in our bid to reclaim giant status of olden days,” said Mupfurutsa.
Sakunda announced a sponsorship package of $75 million for each club in a deal that will start this month and end in December of 2023.
The two clubs’ players will become the best-paid players in the local topflight.
Highlanders have been struggling with paying their players and the deal will come as a shot in the arm ahead of the resumption of football at the end of the month.
The structure of the agreement will see Sakunda providing US$420 000 towards the payment of salaries for players and the technical team.
Each club will also receive US$60 000 each year for signing on fees.
With such a huge financial backing, the two clubs will be some of the favourites for the league title honours.
There is a huge incentive to win the league title with a promise of a further US$200 000 for the club that wins the league title and US$150 000 bonus for qualifying into the Caf Champions League.
In local currency terms, each club will get $890 000 each year.
The petroleum giants will also provide funds for the day-to-day running of the clubs.
Sakunda Holding boss Kudakwashe Tagwirei has pledged to buy a house for the late Dynamos legend George Shaya’s family worth $120 000, while prominent coaches Moses Chunga and Madinda Ndlovu would each get a house worth $90 000. On top of that Tagwirei promised to give each club two vehicles for the coaches and captains.
DeMbare and Bosso cannot enter into sponsorship deals with any other entity during the duration of their relationship with Sakunda.
With such lubrication, Dynamos and Highlanders will be fierce forces when the league starts.
Both are well in contetion for silverware in the Chibuku Super Cup which resumes at the end of the month after over two months of inactivity due to a COVID-19-induced break.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure