Eddie Chikamhi–Senior Sports Reporter
DELTA Beverages have said they are part of the soul, and history, of domestic football and their latest deal, with the Premier Soccer League, is part of that journey.
Thw two parties took their romance into a seventh decade, with a US$3,3 million sponsorship package, which was unveiled in Harare yesterday.
The deal, which runs for the next three years, will see the PSL getting US$1 130 000 per season.
Tich Rinomhota, the Delta Beverages General Manager, of the Lager Beer Business, told guests, at the official launch of the 2021-2023 sponsorship package, their long-standing relationship has resulted in massive benefits.
Rinomhota said the Delta sponsorship has helped transform the face of the local game by giving teams opportunities to shine in Africa.
It has also provided a platform for players to launch their international careers.
He said Delta Beverages first came on board in 1962, and have stood the test of time, despite challenges encountered along the way.
“Our years of sponsorship have changed the face of football in Zimbabwe,’’ Rinomhota said.
‘’We have watched with delight as thousands of excited fans have thronged the stadiums, and bars countrywide, to watch their favourite teams, skilfully and passionately, battle it out on the field of play, all season long.
“We have seen new teams coming on board, and growing their local communities, and we have seen players performing at the highest levels, to launch regional and international careers for themselves, all with our friendship brand, Castle Lager at the centre.
“Visibility and appreciation of the game has, indeed, increased over the years through our various initiatives, together with the PSL, and this is something that we seek to grow as we continue to invest in the sport that we love so much as a nation.
“The Castle Lager League sponsorship was launched in 1962 and it is, therefore, a great honour to have reached this far through ongoing partnerships, reflective of such a great heritage in sport.
“We look forward to an exciting start to the season as we nourish the bonds of brotherhood with the opening Chibuku Super Cup tournament.”
The total sponsorship package is valued at US$3 3 90 000.
It is almost the same with the previous deal, which ran between 2017 and 2019, and was worth US$3 450 000.
Football is set to return this year, after a year of inactivity, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Delta Corporations General Manager, Corporate Services, Patricia Murambinda, told guests they committed to help with the resumption of football, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League will get the lion’s share of US$700 000 per season, while US$375 000 has been set aside for the Chibuku Super Cup, which begins next week.
Another US$55 000 will go towards the season-ending Castle Challenge Cup.
The Challenge Cup features the winner of the main Castle Lager Premiership and the Chibuku Super Cup.
Murambinda said the money will be payable in local currency, at the prevailing bank rate.
“Delta is excited to announce the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League sponsorship package for the 2021-2023 period,’’ she said.
“2021 will be an exciting season for all, with various activities lined up to restart our game in Zimbabwe, despite the Covid-19 challenges.
“Our objective this year is:
“To capture all football fans, enticing them to watch live games through promotional activities, support of their teams and sharing of the perfect moment in the comfort of their homes and,
“To build a strong acceptability of the Castle Lager and Chibuku Super brands in the market.
“Hence our single-minded proposition, ‘One For The Fans’, more action and excitement for the soccer fans, all around the country.
“We will inspire and encourage the football fans to watch and support their favourite local teams, in their thousands, on local television stations and online.’’
PSL chairman, Farai Jere, praised Delta for their commitment to local football.
“Thank you very much Delta for being there for us all the times. I do not want to put it (sponsorship package) in US dollar terms,’’ he said.
‘’The sponsorship package that we have received today as PSL, for the next three years, if it is to be deposited into our account today, is Z$288 million.
“It’s quite a huge sponsorship. We are grateful.
“The impact of the virus cannot be downplayed across the board and, to varying degrees, competitions have been cancelled or postponed. “We only had one match –The Castle Challenge Cup — in March last year before we were affected by the restrictions induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While we have been given the greenlight to resume competitions, it is important that we adjust to the new normal and resume in a safe manner.
“What I can promise is that 2021 is going to be a different year, it’s going to be very exciting. We have a very good product, how the clubs have been doing their transfers during the past year is very exciting.’’
PSL games will be played behind closed doors, under the Covid-19 protocols, and the league have roped in Zimpapers Television Network, for live streaming of the game, on online platforms.
“Our clubs are ready and raring to start, we are committed to ensuring that football is played in a safe manner and everyone involved is compliant with the Covid-19 regulations,’’ said Jere.
“Since our matches will be played behind closed doors, we are pleased to announce that we have entered into a broadcasting partnership with Zimpapers Television Network, and fans will be able to catch all the Castle Lager Premiership action live from the comfort of their homes on our social media platforms.’’