THE Premier Soccer League’s relationship with BancABC has broken down with the sponsor pulling out of sponsoring the Supe8r tournament.
Report by Kevin Mapasure
The BancABC Sup8r tournament was struck off the calendar after the two parties failed to agree on suitable dates, resulting in the bank terminating sponsorship.
Sources said the more lucrative deal between the PSL and Mbada Diamonds was the source of the problem. A clause in the Mbada-PSL contract prohibits any other cup tournament from being played after the quarterfinals of the diamond miners’ cup.
This meant the BancABC Sup8r had to be played and concluded before this weekend, which required most matches to be played during midweek. The bankers were worried about limited mileage from such an arrangement.
But the PSL’s loss is Dynamos’ gain, as the popular Harare side is set for improved support in continental competitions should they qualify.
DeMbare is likely to win one of the two Caf Champions League spots as they currently lead the log standings ahead of Highlanders who would not be registered for the continental tourney even if they win the title as they are serving a three-year suspension.
Sources informed IndependentSport this week that BancABC has set aside over US$1m from this year’s abandoned edition where winners would have pocketed over US$100 000. Each of the eight participating clubs was set to get at least US$25 000.
“The biggest losers are the clubs; the PSL should have done more to protect that deal but the way they just let it slip raises suspicion they might have somebody else coming in next year,” said the source. “However this is not good for football, for so long we struggled for sponsorship and clubs are still struggling to survive, yet for whatever reason some people decide to let sponsors down.”
Efforts to get comment from BancABC marketing manager Cynthia Chizwina were fruitless, but the source said the bank management was unhappy with the way they were treated by the PSL.
“BancABC took long to confirm sponsorship so some compromise should have been reached for this tournament to go ahead. Look at the number of industrial actions we have had this season alone; it shows you how clubs are struggling yet the PSL management fails to safeguard the little that we have.”
If Dynamos win the continental ticket they will be assisted in signing new players to strengthen the team for the tough competition.
DeMbare suffered an early exit in the Caf Champions League where they were knocked out by Tunisian giants Esperance with an embarrassing 7-1 aggregate, before crushing out of the second-tier Caf Confederation Cup at the hands of Angola’s Inter Clube.