Yoliswa Dube, Senior Features Reporter
The Premier Soccer League and Delta Beverages, sponsors of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League and the Chibuku Super Cup, this year host the inaugural Castle Lager Challenge Cup, which will be contested by clubs that win the two competitions bankrolled by the brewery company.
Up for grabs is $30 000, the top prize, while the runners up will take home $20 000.
The introduction of the Castle Lager Challenge Cup is meant to commemorate the League’s 25th Anniversary.
Speaking during the premiership sponsorship launch in Harare recently, Delta Beverages marketing director Maxen Karombo said the company had committed to a new partnership with the PSL worth over $5 million over a three-year period.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce the renewal of our partnership with the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League for the next three years worth $3 450 000. We renew the league sponsorship to the tune of $700 000 per season and the Chibuku Super Cup worth $400 000 per season,” said Karombo.
“This money represents the direct cash injection into the coffers of the league and clubs. Over and above this money, Delta Beverages will invest a further $2 million in support of the league through advertising and promotion of the league by deploying various activities that benefit the fans, consumers and traders of Castle Lager and Chibuku Super. Therefore, the total investment Delta Beverages will commit to football in the next three years is worth $5 450 000. This is the biggest commitment to sport that any company in the country has ever done.”
He said the Castle Lager Challenge Cup would be a one match challenge between the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Champions and the winner of the Chibuku Super Cup.
“To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the league, Delta Beverages will introduce the brand new Castle Lager Challenge Cup. The Cup will be a one match challenge between the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions and the winner of the Chibuku Super Cup where both the league and Chibuku Super Cup are won by the same team, the team that comes second in the league will play the champions,” said Karombo.
The sponsorship aims to provide a structured and professional league administration and guarantee prize money to clubs at the end of the season as a reward for attaining their respective positions on the log. It also seeks to honour players, coaches and referees who excel above their peers during the season as well as offer an exciting knock-out football tournament.
The unity prevailing between football authorities and administrators, Karombo said, would help bring in more sponsors to the game.
“It’s or sincere hope that the unity that now prevails between football authorities and administrators will help bring in more sponsors to the game. We remain confident that there’ll be a common sense of purpose among all football stakeholders to support our game and the image of our beautiful Zimbabwe,” he said.
Karombo said Delta Beverages was committed to upholding its corporate social responsibility mandate.
“All of us at Delta Beverages are committed to doing well by doing good in the communities in which we operate. We’re proud to have been key contributors to the development of not only football, but also golf, tennis, rugby and fishing,” he said.
“Our signature on the sponsorship agreement will be an agreement to grow the Castle Lager, Chibuku Super and Premier Soccer League brands.”
However, the fans and consumers, he said, were the real heroes of the game.
“We salute our fans and consumers, without whom there wouldn’t be any sponsorship. Every time they raise their glasses to toast, the cheer goes well beyond the beer. As Chibuku Super tells us, we’re brothers (and sisters) who’ll share their joys, tears, thrills and excitement as our teams battle it out. But at the end of the day, it’s just a game…It all comes together with a Castle,” said Karombo.
PSL acting chairman Kenny Mubaiwa said he was happy that the deal, which had initially been threatened by administration squabbles, had been renewed.
The initial sponsorship, which had spanned over the last six years, he said, had enabled the PSL to provide an entertaining match-day experience.
“This is a journey that started at Wild Geese Lodge in Harare on February 25, 2011. A journey that has grown over six years and has enabled the PSL to develop and provide an entertaining match-day experience to its loyal fans who’ve given their unwavering support,” said Mubaiwa.
He said the PSL’s partnership with Delta Beverages through their Castle Lager brand would enable the top flight league to continue to develop the sport and achieve its mandate of making football more than just a game.
“During our partnership with Delta, we’ve seen super fans enjoying right from the start to the end of the season. A total number of 3 065 488 fans have paid to watch Castle Lager Premier Soccer League games since 2011. A total of 1 440 matches have been played under the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League brand. We look forward to the continued support from our clubs, players, government departments, local authorities, the media, our valued super fans and other stakeholders,” said Mubaiwa.
Turning to the PSL’s silver jubilee, Mubaiwa said a number of activities had been lined up to celebrate the milestone.
“The year 2017 marks our Silver Jubilee. We’ve lined up a number of activities. Please, allow me to thank Delta Beverages for accepting to partner us in celebrating this milestone. The Castle Cup will be a good bonus for both the champions of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League and the Chibuku Super Cup,” said Mubaiwa.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season kicks off tomorrow with an enlarged league of 18 teams.
“I’d like to appeal to all the participating clubs, players and fans to enjoy the game of football, enjoy Castle Lager and the Chibuku Super brew. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Zifa and Cosafa president Dr Philip Chiyangwa for his leadership, zeal and determination in developing our football both home and abroad. I’d also like to thank all our partners and stakeholders for their continued support,” said Mubaiwa.
Article Source: The Chronicle