Highlanders ”Bosso” the country’s oldest football club are still using kits, branded with the NetOne name, on the front of their jerseys a year after parting from main sponsor Netone.This was the case when Bosso got their 2021 Super Cup campaign, with a nervy 1-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs, at Barbourfields, last Sunday.
The club also attached the NetOne name, in some of the material, they published on their social media accounts, including Twitter.
CAPS United, in contrast, no longer feature NetOne on their jerseys, or training equipment.NetOne has described themselves as a company who have been “spearheading the development of soccer since the turn of the millennium, at both national and club level, through their sponsorship packages which also covered financial and material support for the Warriors, Mighty Warriors and the Young Warriors”.
Along the way, the company also sponsored the NetOne Cup, the Charity Shield, the One Wallet Top 8 and Easy Call Cup.
When, they changed their focus to bankrolling the clubs, they went for the Big Three — Dynamos, CAPS United and Highlanders — before the Glamour Boys left the stable to find a partnership with a new sponsor, in 2019.
Highlanders spokesperson Ronald in a telephone interview with technoMag’s tONGAI mwenje and Ross Moyo confirmed this evening that indeed
“The year 2019 witnessed NetOne committing to three-year sponsorship contracts with CAPS United FC and Highlanders FC,’’ sources at the company told this newspaper.
“The sponsorship comprised basic sponsorship and performance incentives, which saw the teams playing world-class football and entertaining the nation of Zimbabwe.
“While NetOne has a demonstrable record of contributing immensely towards the development of football in Zimbabwe, the recent developments affecting the entire world, have made it difficult to maintain a long-term sponsorship commitment to Highlanders FC and CAPS United FC.’’
Bosso are still clinging on to their NetOne romance even though their partnership, with the company, was ended last year.
It’s been a year, since NetOne called time on their sponsorship of Bosso, and CAPS United.
The company used to pay, among other things, salaries of the players, and coaches.
However, the Bulawayo giants are yet to complete the divorce proceedings.
CAPS United, in contrast, no longer feature NetOne on their jerseys, or training equipment.
Yesterday, Bosso said their current NetOne branded kit had already been printed, by the time the telecommunications company announced, they were pulling out their marriage.
Club spokesperson, Ronald Moyo, said there was nothing bad about maintaining a good relationship, with their most recent principal sponsors.
“NetOne are our immediate former sponsors, in any case, when the relationship was terminated in 2020, the kit had already been printed,” said Moyo.
“As Highlanders, we have just decided to maintain a good relationship with our former sponsors.”
He said NetOne had already paid Highlanders everything, for the year 2020, by the time they decided to terminate the deal and, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sponsors didn’t get the mileage they deserved, because the league failed to take off.
“When NetOne announced they were pulling out of the sponsorship deal, they had already paid us for the 2020 season,’’ said Moyo.
“What they deserved, in return, was mileage but they couldn’t get it because the season didn’t take off, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“So, it is only fair that we are giving them the mileage now, although they have since ceased to be our main sponsors.
“They paid us last year and they didn’t get the mileage in return. We feel that they should get the mileage now because they already paid us for 2020, when football activities were frozen.”
Moyo said the club do not have any main sponsors who could feel they were being given a raw deal by their decision to give NetOne some mileage, which they feel the company deserve.
“Currently, we don’t have any main sponsors, if we get one, we will have to create space for them by removing the NetOne brand,’’ he said.
“At the moment, we lose nothing by wearing NetOne-branded kits. They are our former sponsors and our relationship is still good, so we lose nothing.”
Bosso only have a kit sponsorship deal, with On the Ball (OTB) Look Sportswear, for the next three years, worth US$100 000, per season.
The company has been supplying the club with match kits, training kits, tracksuits as well as replicas for the fans.
NetOne called time on their sponsorship deal with Highlanders and CAPS United, in April last year. It was the first major boardroom bombshell, triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, to hit local football.
The company said their focus had turned towards fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and, with local companies set to feel the full impact of the epidemic on their operations, they were no longer in a position to continue with their football sponsorship programmes.
NetOne said they remained “dedicated to creating a better future for Zimbabwe, by transforming and developing, the communities in which we operate”, and “pride ourselves as having the nation at heart and, as witnessed through our active Corporate Social Initiatives, will continue to support the Government of Zimbabwe.’’
To demonstrate the change in focus, the company “unveiled a Covid response facility to the tune of $10 million, as a collaborative initiative (with TelOne) to capacitate health facilities during and post-Covid-19.’’
This included supplying equipment, and drilling boreholes at the country’s main hospitals, and providing sanitisers and disinfectants, to frontline medical personnel.
NetOne had evolved into one of the biggest sponsors, of domestic football, bankrolling the salaries of the players and coaches at both CAPS United and Highlanders, providing incentives to the two clubs to strive for excellence, and also providing them with kits.
Although the three-year sponsorship package was pegged at $700 000, for each club last year, the company ended up pouring in far much more than that figure.
They also splashed $170 000 on Black Rhinos, which also included a kit and a $50 000 performance-based bonus, as part of their financial outlay into the game.
Airforce of Zimbabwe side, Chapungu, also received support from NetOne last year.