THE massive US$ 3million deal announced by the Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) on Tuesday is the greatest news that has happened in the fraternity for a long time.
This deal should be good news to the club that have for a long time longed for such kind of support in the league as well as the grassroots. This deal is more than what we have seen in or football circles.
The ZRU has not had a bigger deal than this since as far back as 2012 when the late Martin Musunka (May His Soul Rest In Peace) secured a sponsorship package with Buildcon Investment Limited that pumped in US$356,000 for a two-year agreement.
That deal saw league champions get K50, 000 with League B winners getting K30, 000 though some clubs cried foul that the sponsorship was not all inclusive as they felt left out.
Since that deal ended, clubs had nothing seriously to look forward to at the end of the season in terms of monetary gains by the champions and this deal sealed by the Clement Sinkamba led executive committee should spur back that thrust among teams to become more competitive.
Teams should have something to look forward to and this I believe will bring about the missing competition in the league as clubs would be eager to pocket whatever monies will be dangled by the sponsor at the end of the season.
With the exact details or rather breakdown of the US$ 3million yet to be fully broken down, there is hope for the future as grassroots rugby has been considered in the deal as the base is vital in the growth of any sport.
Hope the executive committee will put in a lot of work and take the sport to schools where a robust talent identification programme should be put in place to identify and nurture this talent at a tender age.
More schools competitions should be held to enable these kids compete starting at district to provincial and national level if the country is to have strong national teams starting from the Under-20 and the 7’s and 15’s teams.
This was all thanks to initiatives to find sponsors men’s and women’s 15s and 7s teams and Under-20 boys to compete in various international events. The sponsorship lobbied from Mopani Copper Mines, Country Choice, BDO, Manzi Valley paid off and more such are needed going forward.
So far the national teams have tried to compete well at the international scene with the 7’s team shining having qualified for the Commonwealth Games twice in 2018 and 2022 despite the African title continuing to elude the team.
Thus the coming in of Tesla Finance Development Corporation Limited shows a sign of confidence that the sponsors have in the current team to pump in US$ 3 million which is a big boost to rugby.
As delegates converge for their elective annual general meeting in Kabwe tomorrow, there is serious need to usher leaders that will be able to attract such sponsorships and ensure the game continues to grow and compete with the likes of Namibia, Kenya and in the not so distant future with the likes of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
It will be the hope of the rugby fans that people with the heart of the sport be elected not those that would want to enrich their own pockets.
Rugby needs to retain its name among the big sports in the country as was the case when the country used to stage the prestigious Zambia International 7’s Castle Sevens, formerly Mosi 7’s, competitions at the Lusaka Showgrounds.
Let rugby become a crowd puller once again and this can only be possible with good leadership that can attract the needed goodwill from business community and government as was the case with what we witnessed on Tuesday.
Everyone will be eagerly looking to see how the US$ 3 million will transform the rugby landscape, for comments let us interact via email firstname.lastname@example.org