The Debmarine Namibia Cup – an interesting sponsorship case study

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Pendapala Hangala

It is a very sad reality that gracious and generous sport sponsors in Namibia are generally seriously hard to come by of which the Debmarine Namibia N$14.1 million 3-year (N$4.7 million per year) football sponsorship deal presents the nation with a very unique and interesting case study going forward re-assess and evaluate.

Its intended sponsorship impact or objective on the domestic football scene could now go either way as ongoing negative or meager positive media coverage coupled with lukewarm match attendance raises serious questions and doubts on the future relationship of this mining giant with the beautiful but badly damaged image of the game of local football.

The Debmarine Namibia Cup sponsorship is quite an interesting development as it now sets the ground to seriously interrogate the attitude and readiness of the local sporting fraternity to receive and appreciate the role of the private sector vise-visa sport development and promotion.

It further created an opportunity which could either encourage the rest of the private sector, major players to come on board the sport wagon or a situation whereby the private sector will further be discouraged to invest large sums of money into sport development and promotion. One of the main questions, however, going forward in this regard is whether the Namibian sports fraternity is seriously ready to professionally deal with multi-million dollar sponsorship deals or not, especially without any hint of sub-standard complaint.  In retrospect and sadly so, Namibia has since the dawn of its democracy observed an outrageous outcry from many concerned stakeholders that the private sector is not doing its part to assist the government to invest in the development and promotion of sport activities in the country. The mining sector and despite it being a billion dollar revenue industry was in particular strongly singled out as an ignorant contributor towards the aspiration of this highly neglected sphere of social investment.

This perception, although still quite true was however partly put to rest when Debmarine Namibia responded positively and graciously to the gallant call of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to replace Bidvest Namibia to be the platinum proud sponsor of the then defunct annual NFA Cup. In this regard, the Debmarine Namibia Cup was officially launched on the 7th of December 2016 with the initial anticipated commencement of the national knockout cup tourney set for the month of February 2017.

This proud announcement by the NFA and Debmarine Namibia at the time was a highly welcomed breather for all and sundry, football lovers and sympathizers, except the stubborn and disruptiveness of some premier league football teams who without any sound merit chose to shun this important initiative unto the domestic football sport scene.

However, for the sake of discerning views and taking into account the needs of certain high profile clubs and to ensure that all the necessary logistics are in place, the national August tourney was further pushed to start on April 22.

Despite this kind considerate gesture from the organizers and sponsor, the resistance from these topflight clubs continued to persist without any strong justification which now signals an unappreciated attitude especially towards a mining giant that has the potential to be the rock upon which the future development of the game of football could be built upon.

Going forward, Namibia has more than 50 sport codes all vying for scarce corporate sponsorship of which a huge dilemma has now been created in the eyes of potential sponsors as football, being the chosen one, is acting like a spoilt brat to the continued disadvantage of other equally deserving recipients.

The Debmarine Namibia Cup has all the necessary support incentives for all the participating clubs inclusive of handsome cash prizes to the deserving winner(s), but despite all that, it’s been shunned by unappreciative clubs to the extent the image of the beautiful game is now in total disrepute.

This sad situation if not toiled in the immediate, could further harm and damage the image of the game of football to the extent that future potential sponsors will not intervene any further as the house of football seem to be in total chaos and shambles.

Debmarine Namibia is a highly successful offshore diamond mining joint venture between the government and De Beers and does not to all intents and purpose deserve this kind of treatment.

Lame excuses from certain clubs who boast to be professional, claiming that they are not prepared to participate is seriously an insult as sport people are generally prepared at all times to take advantage of any opportunity presented.

In the final analysis, Debmarine Namibia simply came on board out of its generosity and sympathy towards the football fraternity to ensure that Namibian football continues for the benefit of the clubs, their supporters and all concerned.

However, and despite these good intentions, it now seems like Namibia as a nation is not seriously ready to embrace the private sector to pump in millions into sport, a sad situation which unfortunately could take us more backwards instead of going forward.

And as they say, the rest is history and in this case, we can only blame ourselves of which the social consequences will remain to be upon us.

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