By FELIX MALUNGA –
A STAGGERING $980,000 (about K6.1 million) has so far been raised for the prestigious Mopani Copper Mines 2014 Zambia Open Golf Championship set for Kitwe next month.
The Zambia Open Organising Committee (ZOOC) now needs to raise a balance of $20,000 (about K126,000) to meet the $1 million budget for the richest-ever tournament in local history.
ZOOC sponsorship manager, Hang’omba Hang’omba said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that 98 per cent of the budget had been raised for the Mopani Zambia Open, the most lucrative on the Sunshine Tour’s winter swing in Africa outside South Africa.
Hang’omba, who is former Zambia Golf Union (ZGU) vice-president north, said ZOOC was optimistic the balance would be done by the end of this month.
“So far 98 per cent of our budget has been raised. The balance will be done by end of April,” he said.
The Mopani Zambia Open has staked $250,000 (about K1.5 million) as purse money for deserving professional golfers.
Apart from having the highest purse money in history, the 2014 edition had also broken a record of having the highest number of motor vehicles dangled for hole-in-one on four short holes – third, seventh, 11th and 15th.
Southern Cross Motors sponsored a Jeep Cherokee with Toyota Zambia contributing their latest 2014 model of Toyota Corolla while Vehicle Centre and Yeti Motors staked a Ford Ranger and Hyundai IX 35, respectively.
ZOOC chairperson, Emmanuel Mutati indicated that his team had now reached an important phase in preparations as the focus had been turned to stitching up all the remaining pieces into one big, interesting and successful event.
Mutati said the groundwork had been laid with support from various partners in ensuring the success of the tournament.
The Mopani Zambia Open which is scheduled for May 15-18 will be preceded by two Pro-Ams on May 13 and 14.
Airtel Zambia and Samsung will co-sponsor the first Pro-Am while the second day event will be taken care of by Zamtel and Redpath Mining.