Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo says the association is open for business to all Zimbabweans and corporates that may want to sponsor the national football teams.
The new ZIFA president said the association will next week hold a stakeholders engagement workshop to try and charm the business community to see the value in supporting the Warriors’ brand.
Unlike their counterparts in South Africa, Zambia or Botswana, the Zimbabwe national teams — from the age group sides, women’s and senior men — have for many years struggled to attract robust sponsorship.
Kamambo also spoke about the association’s keenness to maintain relations with long-time benefactor Walter Magaya, who has always provided the shoulder of support in the last two years when many corporates continued to keep a distance from the game.
The Harare prophet has gone out of his way by chipping in with cash donations and opening the doors to his Yadah Complex in Waterfalls to the senior national football team for camping purposes.
Despite helping to bring stability in the last two years, the nature of Magaya’s relationship with the Warriors has always come under criticism because of possible conflict of interest since he also owns a football team in the Premier Soccer League.
Nevertheless, the new leadership at ZIFA have pledged to work together with Magaya and everyone interested in supporting the national teams.
A workshop will be held this month with the stakeholders where their proposals will be tabled and clear rules of engagement drafted.
Kamambo revealed the ZIFA leadership had a meeting with Magaya last week with view to continue with the marriage.
“Yadah was kind of supporting the Warriors in terms of accommodation and sometimes cash. We are still open to that kind of arrangement and at the same time we are open to negotiations with other potential sponsors because we want the best for our teams.
“We had a meeting with Yadah owner prophet Walter Magaya last week, it was sort of a courtesy meeting between ZIFA and Yadah. We wanted to thank him for the assistance he rendered the national team,” said Kamambo.
“All partners are welcome. Starting from next week we will be engaging all the corporates who have the potential to sponsor our teams.
“We want support for our national teams and I must say the door is open for every Zimbabwean and for all the corporates who want to partner us in this regard.
“In fact, we are going to have a stakeholder engagement workshop sometime next week,” said Kamambo. The former Mhangura player, who was voted into office a few weeks ago, told The Herald that he could not afford to go on Christmas holiday attending to ZIFA business.
The upcoming AFCON qualifier against Congo Brazzaville is one of their immediate tasks. Kamambo appealed to the corporate world to consider the Warriors ahead of the do-or-die home game scheduled for March. Zimbabwe top Group G, which also has Liberia and powerhouses Democratic Republic of Congo, and need at least a draw to make it to the finals of this year’s continental football jamboree.
“We have a marketing plan for the Warriors and for this game in particular. This plan will be launched probably after the New Year holiday.
“The ultimate goal is to try and make sure that by the middle of January we are done with all the preparations for the Congo game.
“Information will be relayed to the supporters regularly. The issue of pre-match tickets is still work in progress. We have made some engagements in order to get the tickets and to put them on the market.
“Last week we had a very progressive meeting with the technical team, as far as the Warriors are concerned. Obviously we all agreed that we want the team to qualify for AFCON tournament and for that to happen we have to be thoroughly prepared. “We feel preparations are important from both the administrative and technical side because we have to complement one another. So we asked the coach to come up with his plan which we will discuss this Thursday. “The Warriors are a big brand and we told the coaches that the only way to keep that brand at the top is by winning games,” said Kamambo.