By Grace Chingoma
Giant mobile company NetOne are now closer to unveiling their landmark marriage with the Premiership big three clubs amid revelations that the company’s marketing team was currently in China sourcing kits for the teams. The million-dollar sponsorship, which is supposed to benefit the traditional big three – Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United – has been kept under wraps.
Despite the reluctance by the officials involved, Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United players have given the biggest hint of the deal as they have been wearing T-shirts branded OneFusion since they began their pre-season training sessions.
NetOne acting chief executive Brian Mutandiro all but confirmed the deal, although he was not keen to discuss the details of the arrangements when he was contacted by The Herald yesterday. “We have got something exciting, so we need a chance to do things properly. At this point, if you can give us a chance, we will give you proper details.
“We don’t want to pre-empt anything,” said Mutandiro.
The three clubs are said to have signed one-year agreements with deals worth $350 000 per club starting this season. The Herald understands that they have signed non-disclosure agreements until the sponsorship has been formally announced. But with the news that the NetOne facilitation team is in China to secure the uniforms, the unveiling ceremony should be drawing closer.
Replica kits would also be made available for the fans of the three giants to buy as part of the marketing initiative by the company, which has been on an aggressive drive to capture a big chunk of the market in their area of business in recent years. Part of the deal involves NetOne paying monthly salaries for the three teams’ players and coaching staff for one year.
The deal also includes availing signing-on fees to the clubs so that they will be able to compete against company-owned clubs that have been dominating the transfer market of late and stealing the thunder from the traditional giants of Zimbabwean football.
The mobile firm has been involved in the game for the past 15 years. Previously, the company has sponsored CAPS United through the Easycall brand. They have also unveiled funds for tournaments such as the NetOne One Wallet Cup.
NetOne have also partnered the national team, the Warriors, and last year handed over a substantial amount of money to ZIFA ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon. For Dynamos and Highlanders, the deal comes as a huge boost at a time their seven-year partnership with BancABC had just ended.