By MANDLA NYAMAZANA in Harare

ZIMBABWE premiership giants Dynamos have lost main sponsor Gold Leaf Tobacco, hardly three years into the five year agreement.

Gold Leaf Tobacco in 2019 signed a five year deal to sponsor Dynamos through its Rudland and George brand, but just days before the resumption of local football at the weekend after more than a year on the sidelines because of Covid-19, the company has pulled the plug on the sponsorship deal. 

The deal was worth $1 million in local currency per year, with Rudland and George promising to increase the package yearly. 

Rudland and George also promised to broker a deal with Adidas to ship in Dynamos replica jerseys before the start of the 2019 season, but the promise was never delivered.

Speaking at the unveiling of the deal at the National Sports Stadium in Harare back in 2019, company representative Hannah Rudland said: “On behalf of the directors and the team at Rudland George, we thoroughly appreciate the affiliation, the sponsorship or investment as we would like to call it, investment for Dynamos for 2019 is RTGS$1 million. As we grow, so will the number.”

However a source at Gold Leaf Tobacco told Zambezi News24 that the company has decided to terminate it’s sponsorship with Dynamos because of financial challenges.

“The company didn’t get the mileage that it envisaged to get out of this deal. Remember the idea was to use Dynamos’ popularity to penetrate the market against the already established brands but it was not to be.

“Dynamos didn’t perform really well in 2019 and in 2020 there was no football, so that’s the reason why the company decided to pull out,” said a source at the company.

“Covid-19 didn’t help matters, most companies are counting losses so it was also prudent to cut costs. But we agreed with Dynamos to keep this under wraps for now until a time when we will officially announce the separation,” the source added.

But Dynamos chairman Isaiah Mupfurutsa denied that Rudland and George has terminated the sponsorship deal, saying it was just mere speculation.

“It’s all lies, it’s talk without substance. We don’t even know where it’s coming from. Wait until the season starts and you will see their name on our shirts,” said Mupfurutsa.

Despite the denials by Mupfurutsa, Rudland and George have of late been struggling to pay the salaries at Dynamos, with the players and administration staff going for two months without pay.

In April goalkeepers’ coach Gift “Umbro” Muzadzi was suspended by the club after he berated the executive for giving the coaches US$3 as bus fare for a week.

Muzadzi, a former national team goalkeeper, told the executive that it was an insult to give the coaches such an amount at a big club like Dynamos.

Dynamos were the only one among the traditional three giants that had sponsorship. 

Bulawayo giants Highlanders and Harare-based Caps United lost the NetOne sponsorship after the network provider pulled out at the beginning of 2020, saying they wanted to channel resources towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. – ZambeziNews24.com