Sikhumbuzo Moyo & Bongani Ndlovu, Sports Reporters
MOBILE network operator NetOne says it has no qualms with Highlanders using kit branded with the phone company’s name despite them terminating their sponsorship of Bosso last year, as long as its name is not brought into disrepute.
NetOne acting head of marketing and public relations Denis Chagonda said they saw nothing wrong with Highlanders wearing his company branded kit.
“Highlanders wearing a kit with our logo doesn’t bring NetOne’s name into disrepute, hence we won’t take action against them, unless they bring the brand into disrepute. We had a great relationship with Highlanders Football Club as their past sponsors and their use of the branded kit must not be taken in bad light. However, we are in a conversation with them to ensure no party is prejudiced going forward,” said Chagonda.
He said NetOne understood that perhaps Bosso haven’t received their new kit.
“Perhaps for now they do not have a kit to wear and they are using the one with our logo. When Highlanders get their kit, they will obviously cease to use the one that has our logo,” he said.
Bosso used a NetOne branded kit in their opening Chibuku Super Cup game against Bulawayo Chiefs last Sunday causing an uproar among their members and fans, who accused their club of giving the company free mileage since they were no longer in any form of partnership.
Highlanders’ kit sponsors OTB Looks also “defended” the club’s continued use of NetOne branded jerseys in official matches, saying when NetOne pulled the plug on the sponsorship, they had already concluded the designs and the kit had gone to print.
“By the time the club told us that their relationship with NetOne had ended, we had already concluded the designs and the kits had gone to print and we couldn’t reverse anything. That is why Highlanders are using that kit branded NetOne,” said OTB Looks chief executive officer Peter Chiveso.
The three-year deal, which will see OTB Looks supplying Bosso with home and away playing kit, including a third optional kit, tracksuits, caps, training kit and travelling bags, is worth US$300 000.
Highlanders will now enjoy an extra year of generating revenue from the sale of the OTB Looks manufactured replica jerseys after Chiveso indicated that the deal effectively kicks off this year.
He said although they entered into a three-year agreement with Bosso last year before the Covid-19 pandemic, both parties did not enjoy the value of the deal because of the absence of football activity.
As a result, OTB Looks takes 2021 as the first year of the deal.
“We signed this deal just before Covid-19 last year and obviously we went through the whole Covid-19 situation and at some point, the deal wasn’t gonna go through because of all the changes.
“In Zimbabwe football has taken an awful long time to return and there was not even a hint when football would be resuming. We only managed to do the launch right at the end of the year and from that point we don’t count last year as a ‘year’ because there was no football, no trading; there was essentially nothing so, everything just rolled forward to 2021. This is like our first year of the deal because of inactivity last year which resulted in no commercial activity,” said Chiveso.
He said his company will start designing a new kit midway into the season after consultations with the Johnfat Sibanda-led executive committee.
“We have not done any designs on the new kit; it’s still early days, the actual season hasn’t started so we will only do that maybe halfway through the season and it’s a section that we will want to discuss with the club on how they want us to proceed. Right now, we are focusing on bringing in the third kit as part of the options,” said Chiveso.