By BENEDICT TEMBO
ABSA Bank Zambia Plc has increased their sponsorship package of 16th edition of the Absa Cup soccer tournament by K400,000 to K4.4 million for 2023 from K4 million in 2022.
This year’s sponsorship, which will see Green Buffaloes curtain raise the opening day of the tournament against Forest Rangers on March 11, is valued at K4.4 million and will cover prize money, match expenses, media and advertising costs and rights fees.
Power Dynamos have a date on the same day against legendary side Mufulira Wanderers in the tournament, whose winners’ prize money has been upped by K50,000 to K700,000 from K650,000 last year.
The runners’ up will walk away with K350,000 from K300,000 last year. Two new awards for golden boot for the top scorer and golden gloves for the best goalkeeper have been introduced and each will receive K25,000.
Other prizes of the event which has pitted Green Eagles against National Division One side Trident and Red Arrows facing team of the moment FC Muza, include player of the tournament who will receive K25,000 and man-of-the-match for each game played in the competition will receive K15,000.
There has also been an increase in the travel grant from K20,000 to K30,000 for teams travelling from out of town while the teams playing in their hometown will receive K20,000 each.
“Since 2007 Absa has believed in being part of this great game that brings so much joy to the many soccer fans across the country. We have believed in both our men’s and women’s national soccer teams and the various club teams that have represented the country and brought glory to the nation and our aim is to ensure we play a part in raising the standards of our football in this country,” Absa Bank Zambia PLC Managing Director Mizinga Melu said during the unveiling of the 2023 edition at the new Absa headquarters near the Lusaka showgrounds.
Mizinga said soccer brings the country together and in the spirit of Africanacity, this is Absa’s way of ensuring that Zambians achieve their goals and get things done.
“We share in the determination of our citizens to always triumph no matter what obstacles or challenges we face,” she said yesterday as she announced the commencement of the tournament, whose quarter finals are slated for Woodlands stadium in Lusaka on March 11 and 12.
And speaking at the same event, Minister of Youth, Sport and art Elvis Nkandu commended Absa for the unwavering support towards sports through sponsorship of the Absa Cup and the Absa marathon.
“This sponsorship of the Absa Cup has been in existence since 2007 and am sure I speak for all soccer fans in Zambia in thanking Absa for their continued investment in this passion sport”, Mr. Nkandu stated.
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga thanked Absa Bank Zambia PLC for having remained an all-weather partner for being the headline sponsor for 16 straight years.
Kamanga said the continued success of the Absa Cup is a testament of Absa Bank’s resilience and commitment to be part of the development of the game.
“We also extend our gratitude to MulitChoice Zambia for bringing the games closer to the doorsteps of millions of football loving Zambians. Through SuperSport, talent has continued to be exposed and that has opened doors to many prospective footballers young and old.
We are even more delighted that Absa Bank has always brought something new to their package every year. No doubt the improved package to be unveiled today will provide another exciting chapter in the history of the Absa Cup,” Kamanga said.
He said this year’s competition comes in a month when both the Zambia Under-23 and the senior national team will be involved in African Nations Cup qualifiers against Egypt and Lesotho respectively. “The Absa Cup presents an opportunity for the coaches to monitor players who will be fine-tuning for the big assignments through the tournament,” Kamanga said
He encouraged the corporate world to emulate Absa Bank Zambia PLC by considering coming on board and support the various activities in football.
“In July, our women’s national team will be competing at the 2023 FIFA Women’s Cup to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. This is a perfect opportunity for stakeholders to join the growth of women’s football by investing in the Copper Queens growing brand. As ever, we have had a fantastic competition in the last years and we have no doubt that this year’s competition will be even higher and competitive. Good luck to all the participants and may the best team of the 2023 Absa Cup win,” Kamanga said.