Muctaru's Blog

I am Muctaru Wurie from Freetown, Sierra Leone. I blog on a variety of subject from my homeland and most of my post feature well researched stories I do.

Posts Tagged ‘football associations

African Sports’ Search For Quality And Sponsorship

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The passion for sports in Africa is undoubtedly enormous, from Cairo to Cape Town and from Freetown to Mombasa there is an unwavering love for a variety of sports ranging from football to athletics. However, this massive public support and love for sports in Africa have not been translated into massive commercial sponsorship for the continent’s most loved sporting disciplines. There is a dearth of corporate sponsorship of sports in Africa, and the situation is so serious that even the continent’s most loved sports of football has not been spared. Many football leagues across the continent have faced standstill or serious delays and disruptions to the league because of lack of funds.

One of the greatest concerns to African sports organizers, football associations and other bodies is how and from whom to secure financial and material assistance. According to Gbenegbara Amos Deemua, a Nigerian PE Scholar, in Nigeria, despite the presence of big companies the Nigerian government and indeed many other countries in Africa have for a long time remained the sole sponsor of competitive sports. In other poor countries such as Sierra Leone wherein the government lack enough resources, sports organisers are forced to rely on very slim hand-outs from companies. For instance the Sierra Leone Premier league was delayed for six months this (2010-2011) season as a result of lack of sponsors, at the end two companies came in and gave some money which was far below the projected cash the Premier League Board needed, Sierra Leonean FA officials privately told journalists that they accepted the money because they had no other option but in reality the sum given to them was very embarrassing for a whole top division league.

A few years back, Ugandan boxers used to share gum shields, eat sugarcane as refreshments and train on empty stomachs. It was almost the same story in club football, athletics and all other minor sports in Uganda, the reason for this was because there was not sponsorships or enough of it.

The story across the continent paints a very ugly picture at the lack of sponsorship or enough of it, but analysts are portraying a very favourable picture of the future prospects of sports in the continent. They believe businesses are seeing new potential as the number of satellite viewers in the continent grow and the increase of internet users is viewed as many as a strong lure for businesses that hopes to capture the imagination of the public. There is a threat though, and it comes from the professional leagues of Europe, many in the continent are turning for pleasure to Europe and even now as I write this story – African companies are sponsoring television programmes that broadcast European leagues just to target the African public and millions of Africans are flocking to video centres every weekends to watch the English Premier leagues and Spanish La Liga. Some say this is the reason some African companies are not eager enough to pour cash in the country league.

Renowned British sports business consultant, Mr Graham Hollins, says Africa needs the support of business and trained professionals in various areas of sports business to change the face of sports on the continent and also tap into the huge resources and opportunities available for exploitation.

Sports, especially competitive sports require huge amount of money for its organization especially in the sphere of purchase and maintenance of sports facilities and equipment. The good news is companies like Castle Lager, MTN, Glo and SAB Ltd are getting to terms with the reality of pouring cash in sports tournaments in Africa. In a deal facilitated by MEGAPRO, it was announced on recently that Castle

Lager will sponsor the newly renamed Castle Tri-Nations Rugby series, all test

series in South Africa and the overseas tours by the Springboks making Castle the largest sponsors of sports in South Africa which has the best sponsored sporting franchise in Africa.

In Nigeria companies like Coca-cola, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness, Mobil etc have contributed to the improvement of sports preparations recently and studies show that sponsorships are on the rise. Other corporate bodies and business institutions like Globacom, Shell, Nestle, Milo and Africell are also increasing their sponsorship budget of competitive sports across Africa.

While Castle Lager’s presence has been largely felt in the Southern part of the continent where it has it’s largest market, MTN has succeeded in having their presence felt in almost all part of sub-saharan Africa. MTN has been CAF leading sponsor in all major CAF tournaments including the Champions League and Confederations cup, MTN are also sponsoring other sporting disciplines, MTN started sponsoring basketball in 2004 in East Africa, in Uganda MTN is the main sponsor  of the national basketball league that have about 12 teams (eight men) and four (women).

However, it has to be noted that despite the rise in sponsorship, football has been the main receiver of funds and many other disciplines including athletics have been receiving less. This is perhaps because most Africans are mainly interested in football and sponsors are definitely looking for areas of massive public interest.

Magnus Rex Danquah, President of Ethel-Jane University, noted “Sports business is an emerging industry with a strong financial base and if we do it well there will be integrated business for professionals in various fields. There is a lot more business in sports than we can imagine,” he said. Most experts and sports organisers African Sports Magazine contacted expressed their belief that despite the good work being done by many such as Castle Lager and MTN across Africa, more needs to be done by other profitable companies such as mining companies and mobile telecoms.

Africa surely needs sponsorship to enhance the level of its various sporting disciplines and attract quality and huge public interest. Surely, more needs to be done on the part of sports bodies and organisers to wipe out corruption and make competitions much more organise and efficient to attract corporate sponsors.