The Mascom Top 8 Cup, ‘Tse Di Tona’ knockout tournament has undoubtedly brought a touch of both glitz and glamour to local top-flight football.
The thrill and spills witnessed during the Mascom Top 8 final clash between Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United over the weekend was the sort of high stakes football game local supporters have been yearning for. Nevertheless there have been doubts on whether the mobile phone service producer will return as Top 8 sponsors following the conclusion of their contract with the Botswana Football Association.
Nevertheless, the Saturday game may definitely keep the sponsors on board as Francistown Sports Complex was filled with many supporters who came to witness history as Jwaneng Galaxy, who came into the game as underdogs, humiliated the defending Champions Orapa United to bag the P1.2 Million prize money.
It is evident how the popularity of the tournament has steadily grown and in the process, has become an integral part of the football community. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if the Cup tournament shall continue to be the apple pie of many local football enthusiasts.
The contract between Botswana Premier League (BPL) and the title sponsors of the tournament, Mascom, comes to an end this year. Mascom has been sponsoring the tournament since 2011. It remains a mystery whether Mascom will want to renew their contract or not, given the negativity that has surrounded local football.
However, BPL Acting CEO, Thabo Ntshinogang said in an interview this week that they have expressed interest of continuing the partnership through a formal letter. He explained that their contract will elapse shortly after the Mascom Top 8 awards to be hosted sometime in May or June. Ntshinogang noted that for the past six years, they have been enjoying a cordial working relationship with Mascom. “The tournament helped our local teams participate internationally which also assisted our senior national team perform better,” he said.
He said it is through the Mascom Top 8 tournament that local players find the opportunity to showcase their talents outside the premier league. Ntshinogang said they are ready to fasten their belts and look for other alternatives in order to keep the tournament alive, should Mascom decide otherwise. On the other hand, Mascom remained cagey about the sponsorship matter, saying that they are yet to review the past season of the tournament and will share the evaluation with partners, Botswana Premier League.