The unbranded Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League season is due to end and the league leaders are said to be negotiating with potential ‘sponsors’. The Chief Executive Officer is said not be disclosing those for now and for obvious reasons. Note that I said ‘sponsors’.
This means the PSL must fight that whosoever they engage to sponsor the league do not walk away without any deal in football. Everyone they are talking to must have room to sponsor the game one way or the other. Such will take away the conflict of interest. If Econet bankroll the league, for an e.g, they will have their name on the kit of the clubs. CBZ can also have their name on the sleeves. There will be room for say LG, Twalumba Holdings, Africa Lotto, Afro Foods and Delta Beverages to have their names at the back of the shirts.
There must be flexibility that those in current negotiations must at least sponsor the clubs, if they fail to secure the real deals. As long as they have interest in the sport, they should not be allowed to have a have all or nothing approach. They need to be utilised and people must support their endeavours as well. There is no better time to work together and it is everybody that has to do it. All must be aboard now.
What is actually needed is that the League ask the government through ZIFA as in the government-to-government basis that brought Reinhard Fabisch and many others after him, for Germany companies like Adidas and/or Puma to kit the league and supply match balls. This must have to come with training as well as warm-up kits. These arrangements are mandatory for any league today, however small. All this, need very aggressive negotiation by the league and the good understanding of industry to participate and involve their customers in the sports and their products.
It is understandable the corruption, the errors, the waywardness of some individuals and teams rocked the country. The new year must see all turn over a new leaf. The PSL must give the captains of industry confidence and the same captains must assure the league of their trust regardless of the the likely teething problems that will surely come their way. The PSL will have power to run and rule the league if they have a muscle, cash in this case. With that, they will be less bad guys and teams as indiscipline will not be tolerated.
Clubs like Dynamos and Highlanders will have the knowledge they can be shown the door and the league will be even smoother in their absence. The league also must have a way of having a full-time CEO or COO who is independent and unaligned in club football. It will be necessary for teams to adhere to the rules and regulations of the league and national association without exceptions.
Seeking to manipulate every word of these for selfish benefit can be curbed if the league and ZIFA get a full-time Disciplinary Committee chairperson who is a top notch attorney for the disciplinary cases as well as interpretation of documents and other cases within days of their occurrence. This is an area where other sponsors are needed, to pay for the full-time CEO and the Chairperson of the DC, who has capacity to transparently rule on simple cases alone and instantaneously.
The PSL must design means and ways to attract people to the stadia. It must be fun and people must look forward to going to the stadia. Competitions like raffle draws, music performers and artistes must be asked to promote their acts live while fans get free entertainment. There must be aggressive means to market matches. Clubs must also try to woe their supporters by playing good football. They must give incentives to build brands all want to be associated with.
Finally, both clubs and the league must employ mercenaries to get sponsorship. South Africa had people negotiate multi million rand deal on condition they will receive predetermined cash for it. This works wonders. If one brings say $5 million sponsorship from the diaspora and they walk away $250 000 cash rich, who can complain, and I believe, it will be soon that the PSL will be turning away deals.
What should the league be doing to attract sponsors to come forth?