Let`s extend soccer horizon beyond Simba and Yanga

Sponsorship in sports activities is becoming an increasingly fashionable form of promotional activity performed by a good number of corporate companies and commercial institutions, including service providers and  commodity  manufactures.

Sponsorship is both a critical communications tool for sponsors as well as a fundamental revenue stream for rights owners. Market leaders use sponsorship widely and arguably more successfully than any other communication tool to achieve competitive advantage whilst events of all sizes depend on sponsorship just to exist.

As the importance of sponsorship has increased, the demand for it has risen too. At present sponsors seek measurable return on their investment.

On the other hand, this tendency of seeking measurable returns has led to the sponsors being very selective on what kind of events to sponsor as well of what sport or sports clubs to sponsor.

In Tanzania, sponsorship focuses more to entertainment events which are crowd pullers such as beauty contests, music fiestas as well as sports bonanzas which are potentially good crowd pullers.

Soccer has succeeded to attract sponsorship although the kind of sponsorship rendered to soccer is unable to enhance even soccer development throughout the country.

The way sponsorship is being conducted in Tanzania`s soccer is too biased, such that it aims at making the strong club even stronger and weakens the weaker ones further.

Despite the fact that all Premier League teams benefit from the league`s main sponsor Vodacom, some other clubs have other sponsors who are giving them a better package than that of the main sponsor hence placing them in a better position compared to other unpopular clubs.

Arguably, there exists a special ideology of sport which emphasises such things as fairness, justice and competition on equal terms.

Additionally it can be concluded that the ideology of sport is different from other outlooks of life.

But has the sports ideology any essential impact on the prevailing way of sponsorship and relations between soccer clubs?  There are at least two reasons to doubt this.

Firstly, sport with its goals and values,  is not a sufficiently coherent phenomenon to unify people, but a widely varying institution with different functions in different societies and cultures.

Secondly, sport is not independent enough to carry through the values and ideals that it has always claimed to represent. In fact, sport lacks power to fight on its own but it largely depends on the name tag of who uses it.

For instance,  soccer standing in isolation has neither power nor impact of its own. But when soccer stands under the umbrella of Real Madrid or Manchester United it becomes powerful and authoritative.

In the Tanzanian context, soccer becomes more notable when it is embedded with the  name tags of Yanga or Simba.  This predisposition has affected the growth and development of soccer at all levels in Tanzania.

Now that Simba has a firm support of “friends of Simba’, enjoys the Vodacom sponsorship just like all other teams in the premier league, cannot make a comparison to Police Moro or Songea’s Majimaji which will solely depend on  Vodacom sponsorship.

Yanga which has sponsors other than the Vodacom enjoys hefty sponsorship along with its arch-rival Simba from the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) through its Kilimanjaro brand. These clubs have their teams taking part in the very same Vodacom league which has a big number of teams whose clubs are economically dwindling.

Much as I acknowledge and commend TBL’s sponsorship, I would like to make a call for other corporate companies to chip in and sponsor other clubs which are really needy.

Let us create a tradition of looking our soccer trends beyond Simba and Yanga.
God is so great, precious and loving; so he created us different!

Mziray is a lecturer-cum-soccer coach


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