PREMIER Soccer League side Dynamos today unveil a record $4 billion sponsorship package that easily surpasses the massive deal clinched by archrivals Caps United ealier this season. <
The rebuilding Harare club will get the huge cash injection from Savanna Tobacco, a sponsorship package that will cover the team’s travelling and logistical expenses, player signings, practice and playing kits.
Today’s launch ceremony, to be hosted at the Sheraton Hotel, is said to have been put together at a cost of $250 million.
Dynamos chairman Morrison Sifelani, who is also the spokesperson for the founder members driving the rebuilding exercise at the club, yesterday said the club thoughtfully considered Fifa regulations regarding the involvement of tobacco companies in sports and decided there was nothing wrong in associating with Savanna.
“Fifa only discourages the sponsorship of sports by tobacco companies. They did not ban it. As a club with its own interests to safeguard, and which shares the same vision as that of Savanna, we decided to go on and get into partnership with them,” Sifelani told IndependentSport yesterday.
When contacted for comment yesterday, Savanna managing director Adam Molai could not give details of the deal, but said a “very strong package” awaited Dynamos.
“They are excited, we are excited. You just wait for tomorrow (today),” said Molai.
Sifelani said although Dynamos’ agreement with South African giant Xylocom has not been sealed, the company’s representative will be attending today’s ceremony.
“Sponsors are satisfied with what we are doing, and we are committed to seeing the relationships succeed. There is a strong feeling of confidence in the team,” Sifelani added.
Sifelani also confirmed Sunday Chidzambwa is in overall charge of the coaching department, while David George is the club’s head coach.
Meanwhile, events off the field can adversely affect performance on the field of play. But Caps United cannot afford to let the uncertainty at home divert them when they play Zambian champions Red Arrows in the African Champions league first-round second-leg tie in Lusaka tomorrow.
The Zimbabwean champions, currently embroiled in a bitter sponsorship wrangle in the domestic premiership, made the trip to Lusaka yesterday with one thing in mind: to score goals.
A fortnight ago, Caps saw their continental dream take a serious knock after playing out a disappointing one-all draw with Red Arrows in Harare in the first leg.
Apart from the goalkeeping crisis that will once again force Makepekepe to use midfielder Wonder Ngoko as reserve goalkeeper, coach Charles Mhlauri is spoilt for choice this time round as all of his regular first-team players travelled yesterday.
Soccer Star of the Year Cephas Chimedza returns to the team after missing the first leg due to a stalemate with the team over an exorbitant sign-on fee and salary claim by the player. Chimedza’s comeback increases Mhauri’s attacking options with winger Raymond Undi moving upfront after playing as cover for Chimedza at leftback in the first leg.
Red Arrows, solid in defence in the first match, will again endeavour to shut out Caps front-runners Leonard Tsipa and Brian Badza, who have the potential to cause grievous damage to the Zambians’ hopes of a likely second-round encounter with defending champions Enyimba of Nigeria.
On the local scene, the troubled Buddie Premier Soccer League enters the second week with a top-of-the-bill clash between title pretenders Motor Action and former champions Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
Motor Action fired early warning shots when they crushed little Sundowns 5-0 in Bulawayo last Saturday, while Bosso edged Railstars 1-0 the following day.
Former Highlanders coach Rahman Gumbo, now in charge of Motor Action, can bank on his two signings from Highlanders, midfielders Charles Chilufya and Dabwitso Nkhoma, to earn him a confidence-boosting win over the Bulawayo side.
In the other matches tomorrow, championship hopefuls Dynamos travel to Bulawayo for a tricky fixture with Railstars, hoping to go a gear up after beating Masvingo United 3-1 last weekend. The other match pits lowly Eiffel Wildcats and Sundowns at Rimuka in Kadoma.
The other PSL fixtures:
Sunday — Chapungu v Shabanie (Ascot), Amazulu v Lancashire (Luveve), Monomotapa v Buymore (Rufaro), Masvingo v Black Rhinos (Mucheke), Caps v Hwange (postponed).