Northern Region Division One signs ZTV deal
Matches to be beamed live
Ellina Mhlanga and Takudzwa Chitsiga
THE ZIFA Northern Region executive, arguably the most efficient bunch of football administrators in the domestic game at the moment, continued to break new ground in their bid to develop the Division One game when they revealed yesterday that they had struck a deal for live television coverage for their matches this season.
Northern Region chairman Willard Manyengavana announced that they had struck a deal with ZBCTV for the live beaming of their matches starting this weekend.
Manyengavana and his enterprising leadership that also includes secretary-general Sweeney Mushonga, vice-chairman Martin Kweza, treasurer Stanislaus Nyachowe, board member marketing Robert Mamvura, and John Remba, the board member competitions have been shown that even in tough economic times, they can grind out deals that help improve the profile of the previously unfashionable Division One football.
Just last year, Manyengavana and his lieutenants unveiled Japanese car company World Navi as title sponsors and also lured Walter Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries to bankroll the Yadah Cup, whose semi-finals and final matches were also beamed live on ZTV.
They also rewarded the players who excelled in the 2014 season at a glittering awards ceremony in the capital.
Now just a week after the 2015 term started, Manyengavana and his executive have broken new ground, securing a blockbuster deal with national broadcaster ZTV, who will now screen their matches.
It is a first of its kind in Zimbabwe to have Division One matches being screened live every weekend and with the Premiership matches being shown exclusively on SuperSport, the average Zimbabwean fan who does not have DSTV will be guaranteed live football action on television, thanks to the vision that the Northern Region leadership has shown.
An excited Manyengavana said he was also hopeful that the live streaming of their matches on ZTV would help lure more sponsorship to their league as the broadcaster will provide a vehicle through which the Northern Region’s prospective partners can advertise.
“We are very happy to be partnered by the national broadcaster for this year’s coverage of our matches.
“We have agreed with ZBC that they will screen all our games live and that means at least once every weekend we will have a match beamed live.
“We also took into cognisance the fact that ZTV are a national broadcaster and there will be exceptions to live broadcast on the occasions that they will not be covering national commitments such as the Independence Day celebrations and the national teams for instance last weekend they were covering the Mighty Warriors’ game against Ghana,’’ Manyengavana said.
Part of the deal, Manyengavana, also said entailed that Northern Region would receive 10 minutes of airtime which they can sell to advertisers.
“Northern Region will sell 10 minutes airtime to advertisers and we will give the revenue to the clubs.
“We are just trying to make Division One professional and hopefully a lot of people including the general public will appreciate what is happening in our league. There are a lot of exciting players in the league and people must remember that Knowledge Musona shot directly from Division One to Kaizer Chiefs without kicking a ball in the Premiership.
“So hopefully with this deal our clubs can also be able to pay their players better from the increased revenue,’’ Manyengavana said.
Manyengavana said they had noted that going to bed with a television channel like ZTV would add value to their league as even touchline advertisers would now be able to reach a wider audience.
“The national broadcaster saw value in our league and when we presented our case they agreed to the idea. The idea came out last year and ZTV did their sample by screening three matches live and they were happy.
“By showing the matches live it will also give exposure to the players and hopefully by doing that they can break into then national team and even secure professional contracts outside of the country,” said Manyengavana.
Starbill’s showdown with Yadah Cup champions Ngezi Platinum at Gwanzura on Sunday will be the first game to be beamed live in the Division One championship marathon.
Apart from attracting some exciting players, the Division One League has also lured some top coaches and one of the pre-season favourites Gunners have brought back into their fold, experienced coach Darlington Dodo.
Dodo believes his side can strongly challenge for the championship title this season.
The former Premiership champions were the runners up last year under the guidance of Kudakwashe Masaraure and earlier this year club president, Cuthbert Chitima indicated that they are fighting for promotion this season.
Gunners won their match against Lake Harvest 1-0 at Rufaro last Saturday.
Dodo, who re-joined the Northern Region outfit just before the season started taking over from Masaraure as head coach said they have set some targets for the team but will have to wait a little bit longer to see how things shape up as the league progresses.
The former Warriors assistant has worked with Gunners before and appears to be cautious as he said ‘it’s too early to talk about the championship with the league having kicked off last weekend.
“A team needs results and as a coach you need results. All teams in the league want the same thing that is the title but we can only know maybe after 10 games.
“Basically we are not leaving anything to chance but we will see maybe along the way where we will be going to say we want the title. Right now we are building towards what we want to achieve. If you set a target, it’s something you cannot set and just sit down, you have to work for it.
“And for us to get the result we we have to work for it and everybody is putting an effort going an extra mile and putting more hours in our work.
“With the material that we have I don’t doubt we can challenge for the championship,” said Dodo.
Dodo, however said although he was impressed with quality of players he has there are some areas they still need to work on.
“I worked with the team for two weeks before the season began and my observation during our first game, I was impressed even when I arrived at the club I was impressed although we still have some areas we need to work on especially on the finishing. We could have scored more goals on Saturday,” said Dodo.
They will take on Darwin away on Sunday.
Dstv v Cargo Carriers (Old Hararians), Seven Flames v ZRP FC (Rufaro), Lake Harvest v Black Rhinos (Nyamhunga), Darwin v Gunners (Pfura Stadium), Blue Jets v Mushowani (Rimuka), Zatex v Herentals (Alaska), Starbill v Ngezi Platinum (Gwanzura; live on ZTV), ZRP Morris v Blue Swallows (Morris), DC Academy v Karoi United (Tomlinson).