SBL all out to support sports sector in Tanzania

11Oct 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
SBL all out to support sports sector in Tanzania

UNLIKE in the past, sports are today more than just physical activities. This has come about given the sports sector has, with time, morphed into an industry, and with it a roaring market that involves equipment and clothing, infrastructure, event organization, and endorsements, among others.

Tanzania's national women football squad, Twiga Stars, pictured before featuring in this season's COSAFA Women’s Championship semi-final clash against Zambia in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa last weekend. Twiga Stars won in penalty shootout. PHOTO: TFF

Sports are a huge boost to both the developed and developing nations. The sector plays a pivotal role in contributing to economic growth, improving health, hence happiness, and providing employment to thousands of youth and more people across the entire value chain.  

Sports also act as a unifier because when people support the same team, they instantly become close and friendly even if they do not know one another.

Through sports, people can interact, enjoy and sometimes forge lasting relationships.

There are, therefore, myriads of reasons as to why the sector should be supported due to the multi-dimensional space it creates for a country’s social and economic development.

In Tanzania, the sports sector has grown and continues to grow exponentially, thanks to the government’s and other stakeholders' efforts to prop it up.

Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL), through its Serengeti Trademark, stands out as one of the most visible private sector players that have immensely supported local sports, always chipping in to boost different types of sports whenever it’s requested to do so.

Granted, whether it is in football, athletics, golf, Serengeti Trademark has been visibly present-a testimony to the fact that when called upon to give a helping hand, the country’s second beer brewer responds without discrimination.  

And as in Greek mythology, most of SBL’s sponsorships usually turn out to be Midas touch, as evidenced in football where the beer-maker has consistently provided support, with excellent results.

Taifa Stars, Tanzania's men’s national team, achieved an almost impossible feat in 2019 when it qualified, after a 38-year lull, for the prestigious African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

It was an achievement that the national soccer governing body, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), and other soccer pundits, attributed largely to SBL’s sponsorship.

Before the qualification, Serengeti Premium Lager, SBL’s flagship beer brand, had bankrolled the hitherto cash-strapped national soccer custodian with 2.1bn/-, becoming Taifa’s Stars’ main sponsor and effectively enabling TFF and indeed the national team to meet their financial obligations.

Suffice to say, due to the team’s sterling performance, Serengeti Premium Lager once again renewed the national team’s sponsorship, this time raising the kitty to a whopping 3bn/-.

“We believe that by supporting Taifa Stars, we are contributing to not only the growth of the sports sector but also in reinvigorating local football, a game that Tanzania and the world in the general hold so dear,” SBL’s Managing Director, Mark Ocitti was quoting as saying during the sponsorship renewal event in September 2020.

TFF president, Wallace Karia, replied: “The renewal of this sponsorship is a clear testimony to the confidence that Serengeti Premium Lager has in TFF leadership, we promise that we will not let SBL down.''

''We will, rather, endeavour to ensure that the money is spent prudently to catapult Taifa Stars to even higher altitudes of soccer excellence.''

In a similar sponsorship, one of SBL’s most loved brands, Serengeti Premium Lite, accepted to jumpstart the otherwise hitherto ‘sleepy’ Mainland Tanzania Women’s Premier League (WPL), once again playing a trail-blazers role by funding a league that had previously never tasted a sponsor in its history of existence.

To this end, Serengeti Premium signed the sponsorship deal to Women’s Premier League for the first time in 2018, effectively revitalizing the drowsy league and for its efforts, the brand enjoyed the credit of being the first sponsor of the league, ever.

The gamble has indeed paid off because since then, a new-found excitement among female soccer clubs is evident, giving rise to ‘Malkias’ (Queens) clubs across the country such as the league’s former champions, Mlandizi Queens, and JKT Queens.

Other prominent participants are Alliance Queens, Simba Queens SC, Yanga Princesses, TSC Queens, and many others.