Senior Sport Reporter
HARARE provincial cricket outfit Eagles say they are highly motivated to defend their domestic T20 title, and will aim to go the extra mile in the fight for the elusive Logan Cup this season, after unveiling a new partnership with Décor Builders Warehouse.
DBW, who are one of Zimbabwe’s leading building material and allied products suppliers, were unveiled as the shirt sponsors for the 2022-23 domestic cricket season in a US$10 000 deal.
The pact was formalised by DBW Finance Manager Tinashe Chikweshe and Eagles Cricket General Manager Wonder Chisango at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Also in attendance were officials from Zimbabwe Cricket and the Harare Metropolitan Cricket Association, as well as players and officials from Eagles Cricket.
An elated Chisango said the coming of DBW was a huge boost for their teams, who are the holders of both the men’s and women’s T20 titles.
“The Eagles have a heritage and legacy of great results in Zimbabwe and the 2021 season was one of those great moments where both the men’s and women’s senior teams brought silverware in the T20s.
“This year we are proud to wear the DBW on our shirts as we work on getting more championships this year. This new pact we have formed with DBW will see both teams under the Eagles franchise getting a much-needed boost,” said Chisango.
He said the Logan Cup is one of their major targets this season. Eagles, who represent the Harare Metropolitan and Mashonaland Central provinces, have won the Logan Cup twice in the franchise cricket era.
They were the inaugural winners in the 2009-10 season but they have not laid their hands again on the domestic four-day cricket title since 2016.
Eagles kicked off their campaign in the Logan Cup with no naming rights last week following the expiry of their one-year deal with Alliance Health. While welcoming the kits deal, Chisango said they were still open to more partners for the naming rights.
“This deal is specifically for the shirt branding. So both the T20 kit and the Logan Cup kits will have the Décor Builders Warehouse logo on the front. We are still open to more sponsors to come on board,” he said.
Douglas Hondo’s side started the 2022-23 campaign on a strong footing last week when they beat Southern Rocks by 101 runs at Old Hararians.
“We played Rocks in our first game at the weekend and we scored 500-plus runs. There is a lot of intent from our batsmen and our bowlers were also aggressive. We managed to bowl them out twice. So we are looking towards lifting the Logan Cup and defending our T20 title.
“I think the team has a favourable blend of senior players like Craig (Ervine), Chamu (Chibhabha) and the younger players like Wessly Madhevere and Tadiwanashe Marumani. This balance should be able to take us home at the end of the season. We want the T20 trophy and the Logan Cup,” said Chisango.
This is not the first time DBW have sponsored Eagles. They once had an agreement in the 2018-19 season when they provided travelling kit for the First Class team.
DBW Finance Manager Chikweshe said they were looking to develop the partnership into a long-term marriage.
“We have been looking at cricket for a very long time. We have looked at sponsoring the girl-child in cricket, we have sponsored high school cricket. So, for us it’s incremental.
“We believe that when you start from the grassroots, eventually you will end up at the top. Supporting Eagles in this case is very critical and we believe that this team must always be capacitated to reach greater heights.
“Funds should never be an issue. The goal is to enable them to play their best cricket. We believe if we continue sponsoring cricket at local level, eventually the results will show at the international level.
“This is the second time we have partnered Eagles. But for us it’s not just a once-off thing. We are looking at it in terms of long-term, probably 10-or-so years.
“We want to get to a position where Eagles becomes the Dynamos of cricket in Zimbabwe, whereby people will say let’s go to the game every other Saturday or Sunday and fill up the stadium,” said Chikweshe.
The Eagles first class team will don their DBW branded jerseys in their second Logan Cup match against the Mid-West Rhinos at the Harare Sports Club tomorrow.
The team’s coach Hondo was also thrilled by the coming of DBW.
“It’s brilliant to have corporates coming in to support us. I have been talking to the GM (Chisango); we might consider adding some incentives for good performances. For instance, last week we had two guys scoring 150s.
“That’s an achievement in four-day cricket. So the more we can do to motivate the guys to put in more performances that help the team, the more we can move forward,” said Hondo.
DBW Marketing Officer Marko Mhlanga said DBW were proud to be associated with the Eagles Cricket brand.
“Prior to this announcement, the Eagles had already shown us why they are the best cricket team in Zimbabwe and it is with great pleasure that we are now the official shirt sponsors for their men’s team.”
“Cricket is the second largest sport in Zimbabwe and it is an honour to be part of it in any way. As a business in construction, we truly believe in their work processes that will yield results in growing their flagship teams, development sides and the Eagles community,” Mhlanga.
The news of Eagles sponsorship comes just days after rivals Mountaineers had agreed a naming rights deal with fast-moving consumer goods distributor Mega Market (Private) Limited.
The Mutare-based side has also engaged the Willowton Group in another sponsorship deal that will see one of the edible oil and soaps producer’s brands featuring on their playing shirts.