THE Zifa Southern Region has retained the Nokel Security-sponsored monthly top goal-scorer award, extending the partnership between the league and security company into its sixth year.
Nokel Security started awarding the monthly top goal-scorer in 2014 as a way of motivating strikers to score more goals in the second tier league.
“Nokel Security have agreed to extend their sponsorship with us for another season and for now the figure still stands at RTGS$200 for the player that scores the most goals in a calendar month.
“We, however, plan to meet the Nokel Security boss (Kenneth Mhlophe) to ask for a review of the sponsorship deal. He is a busy man but we are hopeful of setting up a meeting with him very soon,” said Zifa Southern Region board spokesman Mehluli Thebe.
The league’s Achilles Heel over the past seasons has been its failure to attract a principal sponsor to reward teams at the end of the year.
Winning the league title is rewarded with the sole ticket of playing Premier Soccer League soccer. Other teams essentially play for nothing.
“We have engaged three potential sponsors to partner us in three areas of the game. Most importantly the championship should be branded and we are working hard to bring on board a partner that will sponsor the league so that teams have something to play for,” said Thebe.
With the majority of the 16 clubs in dire financial stress, even paying referees at the end of each match is becoming a burden.
Home teams are obligated to pay match officials after each match.
“When referees are not paid, the quality of football obviously goes down and that is a major concern for us. In addition to branding the league, two of the sponsors we are negotiating with will cater for the referees’ welfare as well as sponsoring a knock-out tournament,” he added.
It remains to be seen if the Andrew Tapela-led executive will make the Zifa Southern Region one of the most attractive First Division leagues in the country by bringing on board corporates to pour money into local football.