The soccer landscape in Botswana is once again heading for a major revolution that will take many years to forget. This follows the unveiling of the much awaited multimillion pula sponsorship of the Premier League.
The Television Company called Munomutapa African Broadcasting Corporation (MABC) has splashed a whooping P65 million for a three year period as both the title and television sponsor.
MABC takes from cellular network Mascom that also sponsored the Premier League for a three year period to the tune of four and half million Pula, meaning that there is a huge disparity compared to Munomutapa’s sponsorship.
A breakdown of the prizes could not be disclosed and the Premier League promised to do so on October 4 when the league would be formally launched at the National Stadium.
The launch will also curtain-raise this season’s league opener between Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Extension Gunners.
Speaking at the press conference, the chairperson of MABC, Oscar Kubara, hinted that the company had set out five objectives when they finally decided to sponsor the league.
“We came on board and set ourselves objectives which, hopefully, will be met. We want to empower the nation by contributing to sports development in various ways. We also want to raise the standard of soccer for all the teams in the Premier League and, eventually, help the teams from this country to make inroads in international competitions. As MABC, we want to expose the league to other stakeholders across the continent. The perception of soccer in Botswana should also change; we want a situation whereby players would look up to soccer as a career of which they can make a living out of,” he said.
Kubara also added that his company would like to create an environment whereby they engage institutions such as the government, corporate and private ones to help them develop soccer in the country. Kubara did not hide his disappointment at the conditions of soccer stadiums in the country which he said leave a lot to be desired. He was, however, optimistic that if all stakeholders can work together in the spirit of football, everything would be fine in years to come.
Kubara also cited challenges such as advertisement of some companies at the stadiums some of which he said are no more associated with soccer. He added that they are dealing with the matter with the stakeholders involved and hoped for a positive response. Kubara also hopes his company continues sponsoring the league beyond the agreed three year period.
He even conceded that the road to agreement was not a smooth and sailing one and had to go under excruciating circumstances, adding that he was happy because everything ended up being agreed upon for the benefit of soccer in Botswana.
On the other hand, the chairperson of the Premier League, Mokganedi ‘Mike’ Molefhe, emphasised that they went for MABC because they looked at a variety of circumstances.
He said they took into consideration an increase in attendance at the Premier League games, signing on fees and even salaries of the players.
Molefhe also said since they want to drive local football into professionalism, they had to look for something that would drive them there. MABC would work hand in hand with local television stations to ensure the smooth running of the league. Even though there are skeptics in some football circles, some soccer officials are happy with the sponsor and looking forward to interesting seasons.
One of them is Extension Gunners public relations officer, Cassim Dada. He told Sunday Standard that the sponsorship looks genuine and has no doubts about it.