BANCABC is casting a huge shadow on domestic football, creating beasts that are ruthlessly dominating the top two tiers of the national game, with Dynamos leading the way with their stranglehold on the Castle Lager Premiership title.
On the sixth anniversary of the year Desmund “Dezola” Ali persuaded his BancABC bosses to invest in domestic football, the bank’s massive influence in helping creating champions, continues to grow in both the Premiership and Division One leagues.
This year, the Premiership and the ZIFA Northern Region Division One titles have been won by clubs whose principal sponsors are either BancABC, or its subsidiary BancEazy, who also bankrolled the teams that won the league titles in the top-flight and the ZIFA Central Region Division One leagues last year.
The last four Premiership titles have been won by a team sponsored by BancABC and the last three success stories in the Mbada Diamonds Cup have been written by teams that are bankrolled by the bank.
Even a team like Flame Lily finally found a way to transform themselves into a side strong enough to win the tough ZIFA Northern Region Division One championship this year.
Flame Lily became the second team, whose principal sponsors are BancEazy, to win a Division One title and grab their ticket into the Premiership, in successive seasons, following in the footsteps of Chapungu, who won the Central Region Division One title last year.
BancABC first arrived on the domestic football scene, in 2008, when they launched the BancABC Sup8r Cup, but it was the bank’s decision, to go into bed with Dynamos and Highlanders in June 2011, which has been the game-changer.
The Glamour Boys were limping in June 2011, and had just won three of the 11 league games, drawn five and lost three and certainly didn’t look like a team that could be counted to take on the challenge of FC Platinum, who were then dominating the championship race, in the battle for the league title.
Four wins, including two victories in the Harare Derby against CAPS United, in the eight league games that followed, could not mask questions about the team’s pedigree, blown open by draws against Chicken Inn and Black Mambas and, crucially, the two defeats at the hands of hopeless lightweights Blue Rangers.
The team’s leadership felt there was need for a new leader, in the coaching staff, after the draw against Mambas followed the loss to Blue Rangers, and they called time on Lloyd Mutasa’s spell as head coach and replaced him with Callisto Pasuwa with 11 games left.
At that stage, the Glamour Boys trailed FC Platinum by 12 points, with the Zvishavane side even having the cushion of a game in hand over DeMbare, but Pasuwa somehow turned it around, with the stuff of legends, as his men won nine of their remaining league games to overhaul the deficit and win the title on goal difference.
Three more league titles have since been delivered by the Glamour Boys, and their haul of four straight championships, means that they have been champions in every year that they have been sponsored by BancABC.
“The impact of the sponsorship deal in terms of our success has been very huge,” Dynamos secretary-general Webster Chikengezha told The Herald yesterday.
“For us to win four league titles, in a row, our sponsors have played a very big part and we want to thank BancABC for being part of our success in these four years.
“Even on the occasions when we had challenges with bonuses for the players, and payment was delayed, it was easy to manage the situation, and let them keep their focus on the game, because there was that guarantee that their salaries would come.
“It makes a huge difference, in terms of managing the club and it created a good environment, even for the coach to work under and deliver the results, and we are really indebted to BancABC for the big part that they played.”
A Voice From The Past
Two years ago, on the eve of the Glamour Boys’ date with Monomotapa in the final of the 2012 Mbada Diamonds Cup, which they won 2-0 to complete back-to-back League and Cup Doubles, the then Dynamos secretary-general, Ray Kazembe, also hailed their sponsors.
“As much as the starting point would be the players, technical team, the board, supporters and the executive who worked together to bring results, I think over and above all that we owe it to our sponsors BancABC,” he told The Herald.
“They have been around for two years and it is no coincidence that we have won back-to-back championships because they have ensured that the players’ salaries and those of the coaches are paid on time.”
Impact Of The Sponsorship
Highlanders went toe-to-toe with Dynamos, in the championship race, in 2012 and 2013, with the Bulawayo giants only losing the title on goal difference.
It was quite a remarkable turnaround for Bosso, who had finished in seventh place, in 2011, 15 points behind the Glamour Boys, losing 11 games during that campaign, only to lose just once the following season.
In 2010, Highlanders had finished third but they were nine points behind champions Motor Action while in 2009, the Bulawayo giants’ fourth place finish masked the fact that they completed the campaign 18 points behind eventual winners Gunners.
In 2008, Highlanders finished in eighth place, 21 points behind the winners Monomotapa, and their campaign in 2012 and 2013, where they finished with the same number of points as the champions, represented a turnaround for them.
They also captured the Mbada Diamonds Cup last year.
Chapungu Ends Its
Chapungu had been in the Division One wilderness for five years when they signed a deal with BancEasy to be their sponsors last year and the airmen found the wings they had been looking for as they flew back into Premiership.
They might have waited for the final day, for their stay in the top-flight league to be secured, but Chapungu turned Ascot into their fortress and they did not only beat Dynamos and CAPS United, at home, but only lost once to Bantu Rovers.
“I want to thank our sponsors BancEasy, for the incentives they are giving us as well as the Gweru community which has been rallying behind us and it’s only fair that we remain in the league for their sake,” Chapungu coach, John Nyikadzino, said ahead of their final battle against Highlanders.
Flame Lily Finally Makes It
Flame Lily beat a tough challenge from Gunners this year to win the Northern Region Division One ticket into the Premiership next year and, on the eve of their final match against ZRP FC, coach Nesbert “Yabo” Saruchera, saluted those who had made it possible.
“To be where we are, I think we need to thank our sponsors, BancEasy. They have taken us this far,” Saruchera told The Herald.HERALD