Matome Lebea and Mcelwa Nchabeleng
It is only a few weeks before the National First Division (NFD's) 2008-09 programme kicks off but there is still no word from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) on the sponsorship of the lower division.
The NFD, which ran without a sponsor last season, kicks off on August 31 and club officials are still in the dark about who is going to back the league in the coming season.
There was also no knockout competition for the clubs in 2007-08 after the controversial Baymed Cup was discontinued two seasons ago.
Kjetil Siem, PSL chief executive, would not shed any light on possible sponsors for the NFD when contacted by Sowetan yesterday. But Siem remains confident they will succeed in their hunt for a sponsor before the kickoff.
"What I can tell you is that our negotiations are going well between our marketing committee and possible sponsors to back the NFD," Siem said.
But he refused to disclose the names of the companies they were engaging until they had clinched a deal.
Siem could neither confirm nor deny that former sponsors Mvelaphanda Holdings was one of the companies likely come on board. It is understood that Tokyo Sexwale's company is keen to return to the NFD but this time to sponsor a cup competition.
Telkom has also been rumoured to be eager to support a tournament for NFD clubs, with SuperSport believed to be interested in backing the league programme.
On the imbalances of the NFD streams, Siem said he was hopeful they will get a solution to this at their executive meeting on July 31.
The Inland Stream comprises 10 clubs, while the Coastal Stream is made up of six clubs.
A number of club officials have raised concerns about the composition of the streams, with some arguing that it will be unfair for the Inland Stream clubs because they will travel a lot if the situation is not resolved.
There are those who support a one-stream national league and have vowed to pursue the PSL to revert to this format.
But it is highly unlikely that the PSL will revert to the old format in the new season.