Nedbank bankrolls tournament

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) yesterday announced a R400 million rand sponsorship of a major cup competition to be known as the Nedbank Cup.

The financial institution is the latest company to be bitten by the football bug. They replace another banking group, Absa, who sponsored the Absa Cup, after the latter switched their sponsorship at the beginning of the 2007-08 season to backthe Premiership instead.

According to the PSL, this deal is structured over a period of five years. It was announced that the prize money and breakdown will be announced in due course. But sources put the amount at around R50 million a season.

The competition will feature 32 teams - 16 from the Premier League, eight from the National First Division and eight from the South African Football Association's regions. This is the only cup competition that addresses football development through the inclusion of professional and amateur teams.

The preliminary knockout games will kick off on Friday, January 25, 2008, while the last-32 draw is scheduled for February 25, 2008.

The competition runs for five months, giving Nedbank a prime opportunity to develop their association with football.

Irvin Khoza, the chairman of the league, said: "We are excited about developments within the league sponsorship portfolio.

"We assure the bank of our commitment and professionalism in handling the sponsorship in our continued efforts to make the league a world-class property. Undoubtedly, this partnership will yield the desired results as we aim to ensure that we justify their faith in us."

The bank's managing director of group strategy and corporate affairs, Pinky Moholi, said: "This announcement marks the culmination of a long search by us for an appropriate and significant opportunity to support the soccer fraternity and extend our brand building and marketing programmes that have been so successful for us in golf, road running and sport for people with disabilities.

"We thank the PSL for the spirit in which they responded to our frequent knocking on their door, and for ensuring that our desire to play a role in supporting the most advanced soccer league could come to fruition."