ALMOST three years after taking over the chairmanship of the Zifa Southern Region, talk of securing sponsorship for the lower division league appears to be losing traction, stoking murmurs of discontent in the leadership of Andrew Tapela, B-Metro Sport has been briefed.
Tapela beat Musa Mandaza in October 2018 to take over the reins of the Zifa Southern Region.
The league is the second-tier division after the Premier Soccer League.
In his acceptance speech after the election, Tapela pledged to source sponsorship for the league and secure a partnership with a corporate that would take care of referees’ fees to lessen the financial burden on clubs.
To date none of those pledges have been fulfilled.
In separate briefings, club officials said with Tapela’s tenure set to come to an end next year, seeking re-election would be a hard sell on his part.
“The economic situation is hard but we (clubs), at least, expected the Zifa Southern Region leadership to convince the few companies that were in partnership with the league to stay on but nothing of that sort happened.
“We had a security company that sponsored the top goal Scorer of the Month award during Mandaza’s tenure but when the new leadership came into office, they never bothered engaging that company to continue sponsoring the monthly award.
“Even Liquor Hub Wholesalers, who used to sponsor the end of season awards were not engaged to stay on and that sponsorship simply vanished into thin air,” said a club official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In a recent communique to clubs, Tapela said his executive was seized with talks with prospective sponsors.
“As l indicated earlier that the pandemic left a trail of despair and uncertainty, most companies have been hard hit by the effects of the pandemic. We have been engaging them with a view to revisiting our partnerships.
“For now, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Things will be much clearer once the roadmap is clearly defined.
More details will be unpacked at our annual general meeting on a date to be advised,” he said.
The Zifa Southern Region expects teams to go back to the football pitch soon.
But clubs are not under any illusion that the league executive will secure any form of sponsorship before football returns.
“We are not expecting any good news on sponsorship. Instead we must brace ourselves for an increase in affiliation fees and player registration fees for the new season. To be honest a majority of the club owners are not happy and are putting up brave faces awaiting the next election to voice their discontent through the ballot,” said another club official.
Tapela was not available for comment.