Global payments gateway DusuPay, this morning, announced a 3 year deal to sponsor Nile Special premiership side Warriors Rugby club. The deal comprises of another alliance with Kyanja based hang out; Velocity Bar and Grill that came on board as co-sponsors for the club that has been in the top tier Rugby league for 6 years now.
The figures discussed were in the magnitude of 180 million Uganda shillings and another deal of 10 million shillings with 5 million in cash and the rest in kind. Well, it’s a good deal, for sure if you compared with other sponsorship deals across the league but what does today’s milestone for Warriors really mean for the club and rugby at large.
Warriors is a club that stormed the scene of Uganda’s elite rugby league in 2013 with a lot of promise having gone unbeaten the previous year in the championship. A lot of talent came through this set up and everything seemed to be headed towards bliss until an unexpected slump in fortune and form eclipsed the Warriors.
The loss of Mutoni construction who were sponsors at the time was a pretty rough blow for the growing team as they lost key players to other teams that created an illusion of greener pastures – this hurt the team in terms of numbers and player depth; since then it’s been a struggle for the team to assert themselves in heights they aspire to be at.
The new DusuPay deal however comes with an aura of re invigoration and structural resets that are necessary in the team that lacked a coach among other vital functional wings necessary for a team to flourish. This deal presents prospects of better days to come on and off the pitch targeting welfare cover for players whereas availing necessary reinforcement and equipment necessary to compete at the top.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing is bound to happen overnight but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the Legends based side who aim for at least 5th position in the upcoming 15’s league.
What this means for the entire league
It’s high time that Ugandan Rugby steers towards making the sport professional, the semi professional tag would be a great start – teams need to start hunting ruthlessly for sponsorships and partnerships to ensure that players are on a given payroll and have to solely focus on bettering their all round game development to bring in the results demanded of them. The ministry of sports should be the biggest advocate of this since we have many corporate giants that reap from the country but barely give back.
With these sponsorships, teams should adopt a solid revenue model to sustain them even in times of being “sponsor-less”. I will continue to echo this to the rugby community, “….. we ask a lot of the players but how much are we willing to invest in the sport for sustainability…” – Uganda should drive rugby towards semi and professional playing status.