In the 1980s and 1990s crisis that struck Africa had many consequences. The drought resulted in one of the worst famines Africa has known in the century.
The fall in the prices of major commodities like coffee, cotton and tea made foreign exchange to become very scarce and very expensive.
Most African countries could not import enough goods and could also not produce enough essential goods domestically.
Countries found themselves in a tight and desperate situation, thus seeking financial assistance from the World Bank and the IMF mainly because they could not get any assistance elsewhere as the cold war was coming to an end.
So the two financial institutions became primary lenders, naturally they made such assistance available on their own terms.
This was when the term structural adjustment programs (SAPs) were adopted.
These SAPs were mainly concerned with policies that would ensure that countries would, first of all, reduce on their expenditure. And one of the first victims to these programs was governments pulling out of any kind of lending a hand to football.
Before, governments would foot all the bills for clubs taking part in continental championships.
The only thing clubs would do was to submit their traveling delegations to the ministry of finance and every thing would be settled.
However years on, things started to change for the better, with the advent of the private sector, companies like SAB Miller’s Castle Lager, Coca Coke, Toyota, Pepsi, Visa and MTN entered into African markets.
They took on several African clubs for sponsorship.
Fast forward to 2009, too good to be true! Rayon Sport is courting a sponsorship from telecommunications giant, Tigo.
Recently, it was reported that the Blues’ Secretary General Olivier Gakwaya had held sponsorship talks with the mobile company prompting club fans to start dreaming of a return to the glorious days of the late 90s.
The club’s last major silverware came in 2004 when they lifted the league trophy and many fans believe that the club’s recent financial woes are to blame for Rayon’s trophy drought.
For two seasons now, the national football league has had no bankroller, league clearly runs on the coffers of the football federation, to break this cycle of events, the federation in conjunction with clubs have to embark on a profitable venture in order to financially empower clubs to be at the some footing with the top clubs.
A beneficial setting to all parties has to be created for private companies to bankroll teams. Branding and marketing of the league has to be put in place for every club to attract its own sponsorship.
Clubs have to take the initiative of attracting investors into the league, as it’s the only way that will create competition in the national league.
Apart from the lack of a financial base to run the league, the competitiveness has increased with the improvement of the referees; so the league will continue to grow.
Clubs shouldn’t expect for a blank from the sponsors, but they should use their fan base as a tool to attract bankrollers who wish to increase their sales.