Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
SOUTH Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman Justice Maphosa has opened up on his company’s decision to sponsor Highlanders, saying they want to help the Bulawayo giants’ cause to restore their legacy and glory.
Maphosa, through his South African company, Big Time Strategic Group (BTSG), view the impending deal with Bosso as an avenue to mark their presence in Zimbabwe and grow their brand while helping Highlanders achieve their targets.
BTSG said they have noted that companies in all fields are turning to sport to drive awareness of their own products with increasingly impressive results.
“At Big Time Strategic Group, we know that sports sponsorship wields transformative power that is capable of driving exponential growth in brand awareness and affinity. This is our ultimate intention in this deal as we sit in talks with Highlanders’ Football Club. They have the fan base, brand equity and history. This is what we need to marry into our business marketing model and channel it together aggressively as we market both brands to this audience,” BTSG said.
The company, which is penetrating the Zimbabwean market and has interests in aviation, agriculture and ICT said:
“Highlanders is a big brand that has fallen on hard times due to a number of reasons. Nonetheless, Bosso still commands a huge following, grumpy though, limping though, but Bosso has that support from the masses of Bulawayo, Matabeleland and the greater Zimbabweans inside and in diaspora. It is a team of our fathers, a team of our heritage as a nation.
“We as Big Time Strategic Group intend to conclude these talks and sign off these deals with Highlanders in order to restore the legacy of Bosso and bring them to their former glory. This is as good for them as it is good for us. We believe it’s a win-win situation. We believe that the most successful sponsorships have a credible anchor based on a sport, team or audience need. Ours will be easily communicated and understood by the target audience.”
They said the partnership with Bosso will have clearly defined objectives and success criteria for the rights-holder, sponsor and fans.
Maphosa said the returns on his company’s investment in Highlanders will be the happiness of the fans, who will eventually come back to financial terms with immediate benefits linked to improved sales.
The potential Highlanders’ sponsors said more details of the deal will be announced in due course.
“We are still continuing these discussions with an amicable understanding of the goals we have set, the vision we both have for Highlanders, the mission to be accomplished. We will communicate this to the media once this has been done and sealed,” BTSG said.
The company said Highlanders’ sponsorship deal will not be affected following reports that Maphosa is serving a suspended sentence for tax evasion.
“We’ve had our own brushes with the law before. It is part of our learning curve. Nevertheless, this story is so old now it happened in 2010. Our Group CEO (Maphosa) took the full blame for it as the accounting officer and he took full responsibility for those mistakes and we as a company were punished for it.
“We will focus on our core business and assist in growing the economy of our country, create the much-needed jobs, give hope to our children and offer them bursaries, and make Zimbabwe a great country to live in,” BTSG said.