Gilport Lions yesterday unveiled a number of new partnerships worth around P2 million at a ceremony held in Gaborone. The bouquet of sponsors range from technical, laundry services and cash injections.
The club, which has been in existence for three years now, announced Jack’s Gym, Star Satellite Botswana, Tops Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services, Evolia Sports Brand as well as Slim Holdings as the new partners. Star Satellite Botswana, which is a pay television company, sponsors the club to the tune of P1 million.
Through their managing director, Booker Matenge, the company announced that P600,000 will be paid in cash while P400,000 will be for equipment needed by the club. He said the fact that Gilport Lions are the only team in the Premier League owned by a Motswana and run as a company, was one of the factors that attracted his company to the side.
Jack’s Gym also announced a deal worth P540,000 for three years.
The company will provide gym services to the players, the technical team as well as the management. “The sponsorship will include consultation on how to use the gym and how it can fit on the technical programme,” Jack's Gym’s general manager, Irene Decheva revealed. Tops Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services will take care of the laundry of the team kits while Evolia will provide kits and replicas for the club. The company also dresses Francistown based side, TAFIC.
Club chairperson and director, Kelesitse Gilika said Slim Holdings which had a relationship with the club last season, will give his team P30,000 every month for transport.
The club is currently in talks with Botswana Bus Builders to get a bus. Both Gilport Lions and Slim Holdings entered into a P6 million deal last season, but the deal fell away following boardroom wrangles between the club and some disgruntled members of the then BMC football club.
According to Gilika, the sponsor had to pull out because of the issues surrounding the ownership and status of the club. He said the sponsor did not get the value for money because of the issues. He however, said the company still assisted and saw the
“All the players have been paid and we spent P3.6 million from that P6 million instead of P2 million,” he said. Gilika said even after the sponsorship elapsed because of the BMC issues, Slim Holdings still assisted them to honour some games last season. “They have now agreed to continue as part of the umbrella sponsors and will assist us with P30,000 per month,” he said.
Regarding the issue of BMC, Gilika said they have been made aware that some people who have been fighting to take back the club have written to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) saying they want their team from BMC company. He said that is the matter between those people and the association. He said when they received a letter last season from the lawyers claiming some irregularities when the club was acquired, they made an attempt to return the team.
He said they did not want to disturb the league hence their decision to return the club. “We consulted with the players and returned the team to its ‘owners’ only to realise that those people were just hyenas in sheep skin,” Gilika said.
Following their decision to return the club, Gilika said they then received a letter from the company, BMC inquiring about the developments, since the company ceded the club to them. “We told them, we received a letter from their lawyer telling us that there have been some irregularities but only to learn that the lawyer did not represent them.
That is when we went back to the players and told them we cannot just throw away the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gilika said they have decided to take some of their category A matches to Francistown Old Stadium as they want to reach out to people.
He said they want to ride on the Zebras’ euphoria in Francistown to try and attract more supporters to the game.