When companies sponsor teams, they mainly look for nothing but mileage. This means that those teams with many supporters stand to benefit a lot from sponsors. For instance, for the past years, many people have come on board to support the national team, the Zebras, and it did not take long for cellular giants, Orange, to step forward and sponsor the team.
However, in the Premier League, the situation is a bit different. There are six largely followed teams which drew crowds regardless of whether they are at home or away. But of the six teams, only three have sponsorships while the others have been without any for many years. Township Rollers, Lobtrans Gunners and Gaborone United (GU) have sponsorships from Orange, Lobtrans and Zac construction and STC cleaning respectively. The trio of Notwane, Tafic and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are still without sponsors.
Rollers, Gunners and United do not only draw large crowds but they have also been performing exceptionally well this season. Centre Chiefs have chances of finishing as runners up while Notwane and Tafic have chances of finishing in the top eight positions.
Notwane, Tafic and Chiefs used to have sponsorships before but what could be the problem still remains a big question. Notwane were once sponsored by chemical company Chemdol while Centre Chiefs were taken care of by Paragon Holdings. Tafic, on the other hand, used to be sponsored by businessman Geoffrey Maygilip before their relegation to the First Division.
Maygilip also had a stint with Centre Chiefs where animosity ensued when he parted ways with the club. Both Rollers and GU netted their sponsorships early this year. Rollers’ marriage with Orange, on the other hand, created controversy because their rivals, Mascom, sponsor the Premier League. GU’s sponsorship was history itself as it was the largest ever for a Premier League team. Gunners’ sponsorship from Lobtrans is expected to come to an end sometime this year. The team is, however, on the verge of being privatised but the process is reportedly not as smooth sailing as was thought before. It now remains to be seen what is going to happen once Lobtrans contract expires.
Tafic management have decried the situation the team finds itself in, something they say makes it difficult for them to lure great talent into their kraal.
The Public Relations Officer of Tafic, Johns Mosweu, told Sunday Standard Sport that a lot of factors are responsible for them in not finding sponsors. He said most of the companies in Francistown have their headquarters in Gaborone and every time they need help they are referred to the headquarters.
“We have sent many requests to companies in Gaborone but it has not yielded any results. May be it is the fact that bosses of such companies also have their own teams. But we will keep on trying and hopefully as time goes on something will come up,” Mosweu said.
Mosweu also added that what compounds the problem is the fact that most of their supporters are not card carrying but only game attendants. He emphasised that this is a problem because companies need to see concrete proof like databases, something he said might be the problem with other teams. Another problem that is of concern to Mosweu is the constant changes of the teams’ management. He said it is not healthy for teams, adding that management changes always lead to changes in the technical department and even the players.
During the times when Tafic were sponsored by Maygilip, they we a force to reckon with. At one stage they represented Botswana in the African Club competitions. Tafic produced great players like the late Jomo ‘no body’ Mosweu, Setimela ‘Best Belt’ Sechele, Carlos Tawana and Wrist Mmusi.
Efforts to draw comments from both Centre Chiefs and Notwane drew a blank.