The tobacco company did not renew their sponsorship deals with the clubs for the 2011 season, dealing a blow to the clubs’ title aspirations. The clubs, reeling from the weight of debts, are struggling to meet the day-to-day running expenses.
Onias Gweru, Savanna Tobacco’s sales and marketing manager confirmed the company would no longer support the clubs.
“After our strategic planning meeting, we discovered that we had other key responsibility areas and that we have to change our focus as a company,” said Gweru.
“It does not necessarily mean that we have dumped Highlanders and Dynamos, no. We actually talked to the two clubs and ended our six-year relationship in good faith.
“It’s only that as a company we have changed focus in terms of our social responsibilities.”
Gweru said they hoped to come back into football in the near future as they had gained a lot of experience and had managed to do a lot of networking through football.
“We created a lot of friends during this period. The change of focus has nothing to do with football politics or corruption like some people are saying.
You might see us coming back any time soon,” Gweru added. Their sponsorship deal had been structured to meet the key needs of DeMbare and Bosso each year. In 2006 and 2007, the company paid the players and technical department salaries and bought the team kits. The company also released money to the clubs for player purchases and met the clubs’ transport costs.
Savanna gave the two clubs money for players’ sign-on fees in the 2008 and 2009 season in addition to meeting the clubs’ transport and accommodation expenses. The company also released funds for the players’ salaries.