HARARE – Castle Lager Premiership side Harare City will have to find external sponsorship for the 2017 season after the capital’s councillors decided to pull the plug on bankrolling the club.
Harare City Council finance committee chairperson Trynos Moyo revealed the development during a full council meeting.
Moyo said it was no longer feasible for council to continue as the Sunshine Boys’ main sponsor considering that resources needed to be channelled towards paying salaries and service delivery.
The Sunshine Boys have had an indifferent start to their league season after only winning two of their opening six matches.
City also raised a storm among ratepayers when the club took a delegation of 43 people to Madagascar for their Confed Cup preliminary round clash against AS Adema, costing the residents $54 000 for the trip.
In 2014, then finance chairperson Allan Markham quit his post arguing that he could not approve of a $1,6 million budget for the team, with a similar figure being allocated for 2015.
“The club should seriously look for sponsors preferably from our suppliers because we want to cut costs on the city,” Moyo said.
“We understand the impact… but we cannot ignore the fact that we can no longer continue to finance them. The money is simply not there.”
Despite Moyo’s utterances, other councillors felt that the local authority was slowly deviating from its mandate to provide recreation to its residents.
Mufakose councillor Moffat Alien argued that the club should continue being bankrolled by council as his Ward was benefitting from it.
He told the chamber that instead of weaning off Harare City, they should instead increase the club’s budget as its main sponsor.
“Recreational grounds that had previously been abandoned have been revamped and are in use. Children are now off the streets because they have a place to go and engage with the football stars would regularly coach them,” Alisen said.
Rugare councillor Peter Moyo also argued that freezing sponsorship of the club would be in bad taste considering how well the club has done since they were promoted into the top flight in 2012.
Sunshine Boys secretary general Stanley Ndemera told the Daily News they are yet to receive communication regarding the council’s decision to cut their sponsorship.
“For now it is still a suggestion from councillors. It is up to the relevant authorities make the decision on sponsorship and from there we will know the way forward,” Ndemera said.