Sigh of relief as Vodacom stays  

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MikiaMikia Kalati

Vodacom last week announced a one-year extension of the telecommunications giant’s premier league sponsorship.

The company released the good news during Thursday night’s ceremony to reward outstanding players and match officials for the 2014/15 season.

In addition to the M1 million funding, Vodacom also unveiled some interesting initiatives as part of the package aimed at helping our teams improve financially.

The innovations are in the form of containers, airtime, m-pesa and starter-pack worth M800 000 and will be given to all the 14 teams that would be participating in the premier league next season.

Well, I know a lot of people, including myself, have called for improved sponsorship and this is all because we feel our league has outgrown the M1 million deal, but at the end of the day, half a loaf is better than nothing.

That is why I feel we should be very grateful to Vodacom for remaining on board because without their sponsorship, our league was headed for a crisis.

I witnessed how our first division teams struggled last season because of lack of sponsorship and I would not want to see the same happening to our main league, hence my appreciation of Vodacom’s gesture.

I’m not even belittling the company, but I guess they will also agree with me that M200 000 for the league’s winners is not enough considering the ever-rising cost of living.

My only hope is we are going to see the sponsorship increased the next time around, alongside prizes for individual awards, whose highest was M2000.

I would be very happy to see our players pocket at least M20 000 for winning the footballer-of-the-season award the same way Vodacom has been so generous in other competitions such as the presenter’s search where individuals recently won M20 000 for their hard work.

Like many experts have been saying, our national team can only get better if our league is stable and competitive.

All in all, I’m very happy that Vodacom has rewarded excelling players for the past three seasons, and while they might not be that hefty, they still bring smiles to the faces of the winners.

With that said, I would want to conclude my column with mention of our national team, Likuena, who have a mountain to climb against Botswana this weekend in Gaborone. The two teams would be playing the second leg of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) preliminary round qualifier on Saturday after the first-leg fixture ended goalless at Setsoto Stadium a fortnight ago.

Likuena have been rocked by scandals once again since that mediocre draw with star player, Tšoanelo Koetle, among the players dropped due to indiscipline. The player, we are told, decided to go drinking instead of returning to camp last week.

Like I said previously, the writing had been on the wall that all was not well in the Likuena camp.

The fact that so many players decide to go on a drinking spree just days after being released to see their families tells a story of a broken dressing room.

This has led to coach Seephephe Matete making a number of changes and we are all waiting to see how the team will respond in the second leg match set for Gaborone.

The pride of the country will be at stake and our hope is that they can bounce back strongly and beat the Zebras in their own backyard when we least expect it.

I would also like to wish our national rugby team, Likatola, the best of luck in their match against Swaziland set for Bambatha Tšita Arena this Saturday.

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