The Turbo National Football League gets underway today with 14 teams seeking to outdo each other to eventually run away with the title at the end of the season, next May.
Almost all the teams have been active in the market with many of them managing to strengthen their squads ahead of the 2013/14 season.
Rwandan football has had its own ups and downs in recent years. Overall, the standard of the Beautiful Game has improved but the country still ranks poorly compared to most of its regional peers.
There are many factors behind any country’s fortunes in sport. One of them, and perhaps the most important, is corporate sponsorship. We commend the country’s main brewer Bralirwa for leading the way in this aspect.
At Rwf170 million, the latest one-year deal with the Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa) may not solve all the problems afflicting the top flight league but, with it, you don’t expect to hear cases of teams failing to turn up for matches because they lacked transport.
Yet Ferwafa should find ways of pulling off long-term deals which will have a bigger impact on the country’s football for many years. For instance, there is an urgent need for corporate sponsorships in youth and grassroots football across the country.
Indeed apart from the topflight football league and major motor rally, cricket and tennis competitions, none of the other sports disciplines has corporate sponsors to speak of.
It’s telling that no company sponsors our basketball, volleyball, sitball teams despite their impressive performances in the recent past! Sports federations should move out of their comfort zones and come up with and sell proposals to corporate firms for sponsorships. Federations must earn these strategic partnerships.
We take this opportunity to congratulate the districts that are funding some local clubs, especially in football. This has increased competition and changed the fortunes of many teams. Districts that are not supporting any team should borrow a leaf from their counterparts.
Equally, local companies should understand that sponsoring sport and other social activities bring them closer to the people – both present and potential clients – and ultimately result into huge returns.