Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE Premier Soccer League yesterday entered into an exciting new era after unveiling a three-year sponsorship deal with Fidelity Life Assurance to cater for the medical welfare of players and technical officials.
Under the deal, which is pegged close to $1 million per season, the players will no longer have to worry about medical bills while those who suffer career-ending injuries are set to get a once-off lump sum of $15 000.
The cover, however, applies to the tragedy that occurs during official PSL duties.
Fidelity Life also availed life assurance and a funeral benefit plan for the players and officials for all the 18 teams.
The deal was unveiled by the company’s chief executive, Rueben Java, who was flanked by the country’s football hierarchy that included ZIFA president Felton Kamambo, acting vice-president Philemon Machana, PSL chairman Farai Jere and the league’s chief executive Kenny Ndebele.
Jere said it was a big boost ahead of the 2019 season, which kicks off next week.
“Our partnership with Fidelity Life Assurance will ensure that our football players and officials are looked after and as such can reach their full potential.
“The nature of football is physically-demanding, there is an inherent risk of injury, medical complications and sometimes even death and, therefore, our players require the best medical care to ensure prevention, management and treatment of any medical-related issues. “The lack of medical support in football has in the past resulted in permanent injuries and premature retirement of some great players like Desmond Maringwa. Such sad stories need to be a thing of the past.
“At PSL, we take the medical and healthcare aspect of football very seriously and this partnership is very important to us.
“We are going to treat this sponsorship with the respect it deserves and we are going to exhibit a lot of professionalism to make sure that this will also benefit generations to come.
“I would like to express our gratitude to Fidelity Life Assurance for supporting our sport. We look forward to a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship.
“I hope to see many more corporates participate in the development of sports in Zimbabwe with the same enthusiasm and commitment of Fidelity Life Assurance,” said Jere.
Fidelity Life chief executive, Java, said the medical aid will cover the costs of hospitalisation at Government and selected private hospitals, access to a general practitioner, medication, wellness programmes, dental and optical cover, emergency services and co-branded medical cards which are accepted widely.
Apart from the $15 000 payment in cases of permanent injury or disability suffered during PSL action, a contracted player sidelined for over six months, due to injury, will start benefiting a monthly payment of $500 until he returns to action.
When death strikes, Fidelity Life have lined up funeral provisions which include a casket, tents, chairs and money for groceries.
“Fidelity Life Assurance have entered the football sphere with the goal of being the official Life and Health partner to all teams under the PSL.
“This is in response to the prevailing challenges around player wellness and welfare as well as a need for the corporate brand to develop a marketing property to engage and interact with a broader spectrum of Zimbabweans. “This sponsorship will cover up to 30 players and five technical team members “It will start when the league begins this month.