The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Savanna, Black Rhinos Better Their Deal

SAVANNA Tobacco have extended their partnership with Black Rhinos after the army side worked their way back into the Premiership during the just-ended season.

Savanna unveiled a sponsorship package for Rhinos in August this year and Chauya Chipembere triumphed in the Zifa Northern Region Division One Championship to book their place back into the top-flight league.

The arrival of Savanna Tobacco triggered an immediate reaction from the Rhinos' players and, with their welfare taken care of, the soldiers never put a foot wrong.

From the time Savanna Tobacco poured money into the soldiers' coffers, Rhinos won 11 matches, drew two and lost one en-route to league championship glory.

Savanna Tobacco have also sponsored Dynamos and Highlanders in the past and this year launched the hugely successful programme where they provided free transport for the two giants' fans wishing to go and watch their matches.

And last week Savanna Tobacco, who have been one of the biggest sponsors of domestic football in the past 12 years, held a ceremony to honour the outstanding Rhinos' players.

Major General Martin Chedondo was the guest of honour while Savanna Tobacco executive chairman, Adam Molai, handed over the prizes.

Speaking at the ceremony, Molai revealed that his company would stick with Chauya Chipembere.

"A few months ago many doubted our intentions and questioned what we were trying to achieve by sponsoring a team in Division One but we were sure, I think, we were even more sure than Black Rhinos itself that this road was leading only one way -- to success," said Molai.

"As the only indigenous cigarette manufacturer in Southern Africa, we realise the daunting task of moving from the trenches into the Premier League.

"It is because of this belief in overcoming what many believe to be impossible that we had full faith and confidence that you would overcome and make it into the Premiership.

"I believe we are both resolute and resilient entities, hence the perfect fit and further development of this relationship which we believe will take both our institutions forward.

"Some of you are clearly fidgeting and wondering if this is the end of the road with Black Rhinos.

"We would like to reassure you that our relationship with the Club is a developing marriage."

Molai said details of their new deal with Rhinos would be released in due course.

"We are happy to say we are committed to coming in as the main sponsors of Black Rhinos Football Club in the 2013 season," said Molai.

"Sponsorship details will be released in due course but rest assured - we have taken our vows with Black Rhinos. We pledge to continue supporting our homegrown teams, especially in the soccer fraternity.

"We urge other corporates to follow our lead and join hands to ensure the game of football grows in this country."

Award Winners List

Player of the Year: Walter Masenda

Player Players' Player of the Season: Brighton Chandisaita

Top Goalscorer: Lazarus Muhoni

Most consistent Player: Shadreck Jimu

Most Improved Player: Trust Machacha

Most disciplined Player: Lloyd Nyamadzawo

Rookie of the Year: Kelvin Tiripawako

Goal of the Season: Wilson Chakanyuka

Save of the Season: Brito Gwere

Supporter of the Year: Joseph Nyandoro and Sergeant Mpofu

Coach of the Year: Nesbert Saruchera

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