At long last. Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has secured sponsorship for the Senior Challenge Cup, a development that has led to the postponement of the tournament that was expected to be staged in the country from next month.
Both Cosafa chief operations officer Sue Destombes and FAM president Walter Nyamilandu, who is also the regional bodyâ€™s executive committee member, confirmed the news on Monday.
“I am pleased to confirm that after months of discussions with various corporate companies, we have finally secured our first sponsor [for the Senior Challenge Cup] and we are currently finalising the deal,” said Destombes from Johannesburg.
But Destombes could not reveal the identity of the sponsor.
“We will disclose all the details pertaining to the sponsorship at an appropriate time. However, time has not been in our favour and our new sponsor has, therefore, requested that the tournament be rescheduled for 2013 given that there is insufficient time for successful promotion of the event,” she said.
She further said without the revenue from the sponsorship, Cosafa is not in a position to stage the tournament this year.
Nyamilandu described the postponement of the tournament as a blessing in disguise.
“It is good that after years of searching, we have finally found a sponsor. The postponement comes as a blessing in disguise because we will now have ample time to plan for the tournament.
“On the other hand, though, we have lost an opportunity to prepare for 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup qualifiers because the tournament was slated for next month,” said Nyamilandu.
Cosafa has been without a sponsor for the senior tournament since 2007 when South African Breweries (SAB) withdrew its multimillion rand sponsorship.
The Flames have never won the tournament, but reached the finals in 2002 and 2003.
The tournament helped expose to a wider audience local talent such as Patrick Mabedi, John Maduka, Peter Mponda, Esau Kanyenda, Jones Nkhwazi, Robert Ngâ€™ambi, Joseph Kamwendo, Fischer Kondowe, Swadick Sanudi and Moses Chavula.
The tournament also used to attract the then Europe-based big name players such as Kalusha Bwalya, Ernest Mtawali, Peter Ndlovu, Bruce Globbelaar, Benjani Mwaruwari and Fabrice Akwa.