TNM Super League rookies Ekwendeni Hammers have every reason to float on air after securing a five-year K220 million sponsorship from Agri-Zone International Trading (AZIT).
The deal will see the Mzimba-based outfit getting K44 million per season.
Confirming the deal in an interview on Tuesday, AZIT chief executive officer Matias Bonongwe said they have decided to support the team as one way of developing the sport, which is empowering many youths in many aspects of life in the country.
He said all along the team had no sponsorship and was relying on well-wishers; hence, the decision to bail out the club which is making its debut season in the top-flight.
Said Bonongwe: “You are aware that the team was struggling financially. We need to take part in developing the sport as it is empowering many youths through employment and good health.”
He said that as a company, they expect to benefit from the deal because by aligning themselves with the Super League team, they are positioning their products well on the market.
“So far, we are also impressed with the team’s performance in the Super League,” said Bonongwe.
He said all the issues relating to the deal have been finalised and what remains is the official unveiling ceremony.
Ekwendeni Hammers are tied at the top of the 16-team league with Silver Strikers on 19 points, but the Central Bankers have bragging rights courtesy of a superior goal difference. They have won six games, drawn once and lost twice.
Hammers chairperson Mabuchi Mkandawire said AZIT’s sponsorship comes as a huge financial relief.
“And believe me, with such support, we could even clinch the league title. We are very excited,” he said.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said although this might be seen as small package for a Super League team, it will make a big difference considering that the team had no sponsor.
“AZIT must be applauded for coming to Ekwendeni Hammers’ rescue under the present circumstances when withdrawal of sponsorship has became a norm due to effects of Covid-19,” he said.
On his part, Football Association of Malawi second vice-president Orthaniel Hara thanked AZIT for the sponsorship and urged other companies to follow suit, saying there are still many teams that are struggling financially.
“We can develop the game only if teams are financially sound,” he said.
AZIT is an agricultural-oriented company based with its headquarters is in Lilongwe.