…get tongue in cheek kudos
WINDHOEK – The longstanding and often tumultuous relationship between the Namibian Cricket Board and its lead sponsor MTC has finally come to an end, when the giant mobile telecommunications provider decided not to renew its sponsorship agreement with Cricket Namibia following the expiry of a 3-year deal, which came full circle earlier this year.
MTC has effectively been the sole financial backers of Cricket Namibia for the past 10 years with a total investment of close to N$25 million to date. “We are satisfied with the contribution we have made towards cricket in Namibia and it’s now time to move on and give another sports code the same opportunity enjoyed by cricket,” said MTC Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer Tim Ekandjo in a media statement issued yesterday. Ekandjo added that whenever MTC enters into a sponsorship agreement with any sports code, they usually do it over a period of 3 years, because of the company’s believe that is a reasonable amount of time to allow any sports code to develop sufficiently. “Once the 3 years come to an end, we usually review and either decide to end the agreement or extend it for a further 3 years. Cricket Namibia was very fortunate to have enjoyed our support for the past 10 years, in which we believe we have contributed positively to the image, quality and reputation of the sport both locally and internationally to such an extent that we are confident that their brand can now easily allow them to attract another sponsor.”
Ekandjo emphasized the importance of MTC’s developmental philosophy in sports, adding that is based on the premise that sporting disciplines should graduate from infancy to maturity and once they are able to stand on their own feet, to be released to go on and serve the nation. Describing the relationship over the past 10 years, Ekandjo admitted that the relationship has been mutually beneficial and MTC have always praised Cricket Namibia for their effective administration and financial discipline, and encouraged them to continue the trend. “We also wish to congratulate them for having embraced our recommendation to implement transformational targets to negate the perceptions of racism in the sport, and sincerely hope they will continue and not stop this process now that MTC is no longer a partner, because that will reflect very poorly on their genuine commitment to transform the game and make it accessible at every level for every Namibian irrespective of colour.”
However, in the same vein Ekandjo also conceded that since the transformational targets were determined, there has not been full implementation of the agreement and this did not go down well with MTC. Nevertheless, MTC remains fully committed to sports development in Namibia and has already begun the process of looking for another sports code to replace cricket, Ekandjo said. “We will continue with our assessments and make an announcement at an appropriate time during the course of the year,” concluded Ekandjo. Although MTC opted to be diplomatic when announcing the divorce, it’s a well-documented secret that the two parties were not the best of bedfellows and were set on a collision course following Cricket Namibia’s reluctance, if not dismal failure to implement the transformational targets proposed by MTC.
By Carlos Kambaekwa