It was all ululations in the soccer fraternity this past week when the Kabelano Charity tournament was announced. Interestingly, the new sponsors, Mascom, took over from archrivals and fellow network giants Orange, something that is unusual even in the established professional leagues.
With new sponsors in the picture, one would have thought that a new practice of revealing sponsorship packages will be put in place. But it is the same old story for Kabelano trustees and their sponsors, as they continue to keep the sponsorship amount to themselves. For the past years Kabelano has refused to divulge the sponsorship amount. Many thought that things will change with the new sponsor, but that was not to be.
Kabelano Trust chairman, Terrence Dambe made it clear that they will not reveal the sponsorship package. At was the case in the past; this has led to suspicions that maybe Kabelano has something to hide.
Dambe was defensive as usual, saying that KabelanoTrust’s accounts are always audited and there is nothing sinister about this peculiar trend.
“As far as the sponsorship amount is concerned, we will stick to our tradition of not making the amount public. After acquiring a new sponsor we felt we should keep it a secret as we have always done. We talked about the issue to our sponsors and they do not have a problem with it,” said Dambe at the launch on Tuesday at Gaborone Sun.
Kabelano Trust normally publicizes the amount of money made during the one day event at the national stadium and even the prize money for the teams.
As has also been the case in the past few years, the tournament seems to have once again pitted the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the Premier League Committee against each other regarding who exactly has the executive powers.
Kabelano Trust emphasized that they negotiated with the BFA while the Premier League Committee has its own agents who negotiate sponsors on their behalf. It has emerged that the agents, Pula Sports Marketing, were not involved, despite the fact that premier league teams will be used.
Another twist is that, another cell-phone network operator, be-Mobile, who is the sole sponsor of the Premier League, is also planning to hold a charity tournament. The Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, under which be-Mobile falls, announced the planned charity cup about a year ago. With Mascom also in the fray, and the BFA and the premier League pitted against each other, it looks the two companies might be in for a duel encounter.