The recent multimillion pula sponsorship into local football by two locals companies, be-mobile and Coca-Cola has been widely received with open arms.
Be-mobile made history by splashing P15 Million to sponsor the Premier League for a period of three years.
Coca-Cola, on the other hand, has been there in local football for 17 years now, but they also tremendously inflated their sponsorship for the next three years to P 6.6 Million.
What can be taken note of is the fact that the winner for the Premier League will pocket P 1 million compared to the previous winners who only pocketed P140 000.
In the Coca-Cola sponsorship, the previous winner only took home P140 000 while from next year the winner will be walking away with P500 000. Nevertheless, be-mobile is the only new kid on the block and has shown their interest for football growth in the country, and for that matter Coca-Cola’s three year extension sponsorship means there are only two major tournaments in the country for football.
Meanwhile, other sports codes are languishing in the lurch as they hardly get sponsorship and the fraction they sometimes get leaves a lot to be desired. The prize monies for other tournament winners does not go beyond P 5 000 while in others it is even less than P 7 000.
For a long time now, opposition parties are the ones who have been slamming locally based companies for not doing enough to develop sports. “There are many local companies in this country that rake in a lot of money, but they are doing little to help develop sports in this country. In other countries, sports is highly developed because companies in such countries are pouring in money,” said Otlaadisa Koosaletse about two years ago while still the leader of the Botswana Congress Party.
Otlaadisa’s words are echoed by Township Rollers Managing Director, Somereset Gobuiwang.
Gobuiwang told Sunday Standard that there are only a few local companies that are helping to develop sports.
“There are many companies in this country making a lot of money, but they are not doing enough to take sports in this country to another level. Some such companies are pouring unbelievable amount of money to other countries but not in Botswana,” he said.
Gobuiwang, however, added that may be there could be other factors the sports fraternity is not aware of. He also expressed optimism that, with time, things will change and more companies will come on board.
Gaborone United Secretary General, Kagiso Sebele, said the issue of the sponsorship is a complex one. He said there are a variety of factors taken into consideration before companies flash out cash.
“When you go to the company asking for a sponsorship, you need to go with a product to sell. Companies would then decide whether the product on the table is worth what they need to market themselves. For instance, if you look at our teams they are registered as societies where there is no accountability. In such instances companies would be reluctant to help,” he said.
Sebele added that the competitiveness of the players has improved and the challenge lies with the administration of the teams and even development of infrastructures. He said lack of adequate infrastructure can easily scare away potential sponsors.