NetOne Charity Shield voting starts
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Speaking at the launch of the sms voting platform yesterday, NetOne managing director, Reward Kangai, said despite meeting challenges along the way, they were committed to the development of football through bankrolling the Charity Shield.
NetOne has so far poured in US$450 000 for the last two editions of the tournament, both won by Harare giants Dynamos.
The sponsors have promised a bigger event this year with four teams expected to take part on the basis of votes garnered through the sms platform.
NetOne unveiled a US$250 000 package in the 2012 season, up from US$200 000 the previous year and Kangai said the sponsorship is expected to be bigger this season.
"It's always an interesting thing for NetOne to be seen supporting this very popular game. We are confident that we will be able to renew our contract with the Premier Soccer League," said Kangai.
The Charity Shield has featured two teams in the previous seasons, pitting Castle Lager champions and winners of the country's premier cup competition. Interestingly, both finals featured Dynamos and Motor Action and were played in Harare.
The sponsors have changed the format to involve all the 16 teams this year and would want to spread the games across the country.
The sponsors will publish in the media a full list of the teams involved in the Premier Soccer League this season including the newly promoted sides - Black Rhinos, How Mine Triangle and Triple B - to allow for voting. Fans will choose teams of their choice and send a text message to 38080.
Voting has already started across all networks and the four teams that amass the most votes at the end will clash in semi-final contests to choose the two finalists.
And, on the basis of popularity it appears, Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United might find themselves among the fans' favourites.
The voting is expected to close either at the end of this month or early next month.
The official launch of the tournament will then take place at a later date where the prizes and competition rules will be unveiled.
"There is no limitation to how many entries one can make, you can vote for your favourite team many times to increase the chances of being selected.
"Weekly updates will be made available as to how people are voting," said Kangai. He said they were hoping for a smooth show this year as the tournament had run into problems last season over the issue of kit branding rights. Eventual winners Dynamos were not given their US$50 000 prize money following the row and have threatened not to participate this year.
However, PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele said the issue was being looked into by the leadership.
Ndebele also said the league was excited by their marriage with NetOne. We are working on that. Because of the growth of the brand we need to iron out all issues so that we don't shortchange anyone. It's an in-house thing and as the PSL it is our duty to make sure that everyone is happy.
"So, we don't foresee the Dynamos issue to be a major hindrance or an insurmountable obstacle because we are a family.
"So, in the meantime voting will take place while the other things are being sorted out," said Ndebele.
"We are confident that this relationship that we have with NetOne will continue to grow, not only for charity but in terms of developing the game and building a better future for those who are disadvantaged.
"What is happening this time around is that the format has changed to make it a new look, to show growth, to show confidence in the relationship by involving the fans.
"It''s not a new concept because we have seen it in the Telkom Cup in South Africa and Kenya recently held their Charity Cup based on votes by the fans," said Ndebele.
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