Mainland premier soccer league sponsorship controversies were not expected to surface at this time when the season has already kicked off. It all points to poor approach or mishandling of sponsorship affairs threatening to disrupt the running of the league.
The Tanzania Football Federation ought to have cleared sponsorship hitch before the season started a week ago. In fact the season had a delayed kick-off, with TFF having postponed it on grounds that it was finalising sponsorship talks with Vodacom Tanzania. This was much to the disappointment of the 14 teams the league comprises.
In the first place, this is not the time to talk about sponsorship as the issue should have been cleared well in advance – at least a year or six months ahead of the new season.
The fact that sponsorship unnecessarily delayed the opening of the season is clear and impeccable evidence of weaknesses within the federation.
The end of the just-ended five-year sponsorship pact between Vodacom and TFF was known well in advance. For people doing their job with a combination of prudence and vision, the contract renewal should have been sealed much earlier than it actually was.
The federation’s officials in collaboration with the marketing department ought to have approached the Vodacom management in good time, with a view to knowing exactly whether the firm would renew the contract.
The tendency of waiting to pack bags at the eleventh hour will one day backfire with a vengeance, and one wonders who will be ready to bear the brunt of the mess. Why in the first place did TFF not conclude the renewal of the contract well ahead of the new season?
The inconveniences we are witnessing should have been avoided without incommoding the top flight sides, their officials and the football fraternity generally.
Even more frustrating to the teams is that even after the renewal of the contract, some important obligations have yet to be attended to.
The poor approach to the contract renewal played a decisive role in unprecedented breaches by some sides, notably African Lyon, which opted for an outfit issued by Vodacom’s business competitors, M/s Zantel. Where it was deliberately or out of ignorance no one really knows!
Whatever the case, TFF has not been keen enough in informing the respective teams on the relevant terms of their sponsorship contract with Vodacom.
Uncertainty and failure to execute plans in time on the part of the federation created room for African Lyon to resort to contractual terms infringement.
TFF needs no reminding that soccer has a massive following in Tanzania and therefore ought to be supervised really seriously and professionally.
The federation should thank its stars in that Vodacom has decided to renew the league sponsorship because it would have found itself in deep trouble otherwise.
TFF is a huge institution supporting many people to whom league matches are the major source of livelihood, and should therefore behaving as if overseeing the game does not call for keenness and seriousness.
There are players, referees, team officials, ticket vendors, etc., etc., all of whose eyes are on soccer. It’s high time the federation woke up and got into real business.