EASTERN Region Division One outfit Masvingo United has secured a sponsorship package with OG Sport, a sport and clothing manufacturing company, Standardsport can reveal.
By Nyambira Chivasa
The deal will see the club getting home, away, warm up and training kits from their new sponsor.
This will be a major breakthrough for the cash-strapped team which has been surviving from hand to mouth, without proper sponsorship since 2009 when Masvingo bus operator Tanda Tavaruva pulled out.
Since then, the team has been experiencing perennial cash problems.
The team was at one point sponsored by another Masvingo businessman Petros Mutema in a partnership with a South African company which specialises in manufacturing drinks, Zimanzi.
They even went to the extent of changing their name to Zimanzi Masvingo FC.
However, Zimanzi pulled out of the sponsorship deal in 2010 leaving Mutema to shoulder the financial burden of the team alone.
In an interview with Standardsport, the director at OG Sport, Isheunesu Zishiri said they had decided to partner Masvingo United; a brand which he said was sellable due to its popularity.
“It’s a win-win deal. Una Una is a sellable brand. We will supply them with home, away, warm up and training kits and we will sell replica jerseys during and after matches” said Zishiri before adding that OG brand is there to stay.
The company is set to benefit from Masvingo United’s legion of fans who have remained loyal to the team even in the unfashionable world of Division One.
“We have nowhere to buy replica jerseys and other soccer paraphernalia. This is obviously going to solve our problem,” said Brighton Zvobgo, a Masvingo United loyalist.
During the days when Una Una was in the league, it was one of the four best supported teams in the country after Highlanders, Dynamos and CAPS United.
OG Sport has been a major supplier of sports kits to various schools in Masvingo which include Gokomere, Kyle College and Victoria High Schools, just to name a few.
OG Sport manager Androit Manyevere said that their company was even prepared to partner premiership clubs in their quest to spread their operations.
“We are not confined to Masvingo. Neither are we only sponsoring teams in Division One. We are prepared to sponsor big teams like Dynamos and Highlanders,” he said.
Manyevere said that big clubs were in the habit of buying expensive kits from established companies like Adidas and Nike because local companies did not manufacture quality sport kits.
“We have come in to rectify this and fill the void that has been created. We have a large workshop with sophisticated machinery and highly-qualified staff. We promise stakeholders in the sport fraternity quality material which will compete with top brands but at affordable prices,” he said.
Manyevere also bemoaned lack of support from the government to help them realise their full potential.
Zishiri is brother to Tinashe Zishiri, an assistant coach to Moses Chunga at Chiredzi FC and who boasts of a rich football history.
He played football during his days at school in the Nash tournament in Zambia with the likes of Onismor Bhasera and Washington Arubi while at Hippo Valley School.
From Hippo Valley, Zishiri was identified by Cornelius Tavaruva who initiated a move for him to Gutu Leopards in 2003 with the intention of bringing him to Masvingo United.
However, injury forced him out of football in 2005 when he was still playing for the same club, hence the former attacking midfielder’s passion for a football related enterprise.