The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS Football Club first team players will have their salaries paid by the club’s main sponsors, Sakunda Holdings, with funds from Utande now being channeled to other use at the club.
Last month, Highlanders secured a six-month sponsorship deal with Utande to cover salaries for the 27 first team contracted players from September until February next year in a deal worth Z$3, 6 million.
The coming in of Sakunda as the main sponsors has seen Highlanders and Utande activating a clause in the agreement signed by both parties when they entered into a partnership.
Sakunda were unveiled as the main bankrollers for Highlanders and Dynamos, with the company to give both clubs US$890 000 per year over a period of three years, with the sponsorship worth US$5,3 million.
Questions had arisen on whether Bosso players will get salaries from both Utande and Sakunda.
Nhlanhla Dube, the Highlanders chief executive officer yesterday said that now that Sakunda has come in as main sponsors, funds from Utande will no longer be used for remuneration.
“The agreement is very clear on what happens when a main sponsor comes in. Sakunda are our main sponsors, Utande are our partners, the agreement with Utande is well structured for movement of resources to areas away from salaries of the first team so there is no double salary.
“So, now that Sakunda have come in, the funding from Utande is moving to other areas. When we signed with Utande, other conversations were already underway, we were aware that we had to arrive at an agreement that allows for others to come in,’’ Dube said.
When the partnership was signed, Utande chief executive officer, Never Ncube spoke of the internet service provider getting their branding on the Highlanders first team shirt. Dube has clarified that with Sakunda taking the space on the chest, Utande will occupy space on the back of the shirt.
“Utande rights are not compromised, they are getting space at the back and Sakunda are taking space on the chest.”
As part of the sponsorship from Sakunda, Highlanders and Dynamos were given cars to be used by coaches as well as captains of the two clubs. Dube also provided clarity in that the cars were given to the two clubs for use by whoever is the coach and captain at the time.
“They are club cars for use by the coach and the captain at the time,’’ said Dube.
Meanwhile, the coming of Sakunda has seen Dynamos also move Remington Gold to other parts of their shirt. Tinashe Farawo, executive member in charge of marketing and communications said: “Sakunda Holdings are now the main sponsor, we will find space for Remington Gold on the shirt. If someone is putting in more money, they must get the prominence.”
Farawo believes the coming in of Sakunda will transform the two biggest football clubs in the country.
“Dynamos and Highlanders will no longer be the same. We are going to attract the best players the country has on offer and we will only release players for their true value,’’ he said.
Things are looking far more promising for Highlanders with talk of more sponsors said to be on the way for the 95-year old institution.