By Sibongiseni Zondi | 2018-06-14
SOCCER - LOCAL football will never be the same after mobile telecommunications giants Swazi MTN announced a staggering E18 million sponsorship towards the top two leagues under the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) yesterday afternoon.
The milestone deal, which will cover both the Premier League and National First Division, was launched at the Royal Swazi Sun, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister Paul Dlamini and Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala.The sponsorship will run for the next three seasons. The deal replaces the E11.4 million package between MTN and the PLS which expired at the end of last season.
Announcing the terms of the deal, Swazi MTN CEO Ambrose Dlamini announced that the package would be split into E6 million for every season up until the 2020/21 campaign. Amongst the key improvements under the new deal, all Premier League clubs will now receive E100 000 participation fee each at the start of each season, up from E20 000. This means that about E5 million of the total package will go directly to the clubs as participation fees. Under the terms of the previous deal, Premier League clubs shared around E900 000 as participation fees. “I must say that this is our prime and flagship sponsorship in the kingdom. It stems from our zeal to raise the standard of performance of our local football to match highly competitive leagues. MTN Eswatini remains committed to the development of the people’s sport in the Kingdom of Eswatini,”MTN CEO Dlamini said.
The top flight’s League champions will now pocket E1 million (plus E350 000 for winning the first round), up from E750 000. Meanwhile, First Division Champions will take home E180 000, up from E120 000.Accepting the sponsorship, PLS Chairman Mark Carmichael hailed MTN’s contribution to local football.“We want to move up from being the 14th best League on the continent to being in the top five and with a sponsor like MTN, we don’t see how that cannot be achieved. We want to improve and we really thank MTN for this awesome gesture,” Carmichael said.
DPM Dlamini, meanwhile, urged clubs and players to make good use of the sponsorship.“This (sponsorship) shows that Swazi MTN is the partner of choice for the country in as far as the development of football is concerned.
Finding a generous and loyal sponsor like Swazi MTN is never easy.
Now that we have found one, it is important to sustain our relationship with Swazi MTN,” Dlamini said. Royal Leopard PRO Frank Hurube spoke on behalf of top flight clubs and thanked MTN for the sponsor.
His words were echoed by Thobile Dlamini, who spoke on behalf of NFD sides.
The historic deal is another milestone agreement for local football in a short period of time.Last month, His Majesty King Mswatii III announced that sponsors SMVAF would pump in E12 million to sponsor the Ingwenyama Cup for another three years.
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