Signing Ceremony of the Partnership Agreement between MTN and the Professional Football League of Cameroon
It is with immense pleasure and pride that I take the floor before the legendary Cameroonian football family represented here. Today, MTN CAMEROON is taking back its rightful place in this family, beside the Professional Football League of Cameroon.
When General Pierre SEMENGUE, President of the Professional Football League of Cameroon, contacted MTN in November 2016, requesting that we come back as Official Sponsor of the League, we examined the conditions of such a come-back in consultation with the MTN GROUP, we considered how we could further contribute to the sustainable development of football in Cameroon.
At MTN, we have always believed in the immense potential of Cameroonian football that has brought so much joy and recognition to the continent. From generation to generation, Cameroon has produced talented football players who have made us the envy of millions of people the world over. Amongst these great talents, we are extremely honored to have within our midst this morning:
– Joseph-Antoine BELL,
– Captain Rigobert SONG,
– Captain Stephen TATAW,
– Gérémie NJITAP,
– Pierre WOME,
– Salomon OLEMBE,
– Lucien METTOMO,
Despite the incomparable richness of human capital, Cameroonian football is unfortunately still seriously hampered by economic difficulties. As MTN, we have always sought to contribute to ameliorate the conditions of the organization of national football, by participating in its development at the grassroots.
In effect, as far back as January 2002, MTN was the very first company to support the local football championships in Cameroon. For a period of 11 years, between 2002 and 2013, we contributed towards the relaunch, the development, and the sustainability of football clubs in partnership with FECAFOOT and the League. We equally contributed in the reinforcement of sports infrastructure through the construction of two municipal stadiums that meet international standards in the towns of MBOUDA situated in the WEST Region and GUIDER in the NORTH Region.
We have good reasons to be proud of the shared opinion of football observers who have continued to celebrate our commitment to contribute towards the development of Cameroonian football at the grassroots.
Dear Partners of Cameroonian Football, the above notwithstanding,
Whatever efforts a sponsor makes to support local football, these efforts would not produce any long-lasting impact if football stakeholders do not distinguish themselves by their seriousness, their professionalism, and their ardent wish to leave their imprint on Cameroonian football.
If internal fights between football managers replace sports encounters to the point of negatively affecting the performance of players;
If the programming of matches is uncertain and does not give room for the follow up of the evolution of teams, local football runs the risk of discouraging the most committed supporters, and even more so, the sponsor, who has a brand image to protect.
By coming back today, we have revisited shortcomings of our previous agreements with FECAFOOT, and the Professional Football League. The Agreement that we are executing today is borne of our collective ambition to raise the performance bar of local football to the level of that of the Indomitable Lions, kings of Africa, our pride.
The clubs of the First and Second Division championships renamed MTN ELITE ONE and MTN ELITE TWO, remain at the heart of our commitment. We have reserved for them the lion’s share of our direct financial contribution, and sincerely hope that this direct financial assistance will be used as a matter of priority to improve on the conditions of players, who are the central actors in the game of football.
In agreement with the League, we have equally introduced prizes for Excellence, to foster the spirit of competition amongst players, and to maintain interest in the competitions until the last day of play.
At the end of the sports season, prizes will be awarded to the five best teams of both the MTN ELITE ONE and MTN ELITE TWO championships. Cash prizes will equally be awarded to the best players and strikers of each of these championships on a monthly basis, and at the end of the sports season.
Evidently, by signing this partnership, MTN cannot ignore the operational difficulties faced by the League which is charged with the organization of the two competitions that we are going to support. It is for this reason that we have accepted to contribute to the functioning of the League in accordance with the norms prescribed by its Board of Directors for the distribution of sponsorship packages.
We are equally looking at investing significantly in the promotion of the competitions, teams, and players.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Globally, MTN CAMEROON will invest approximately 1 billion FCFA annually over the course of the next three years in financing the Partnership Agreement that we are executing today with the Professional Football League of Cameroon.
Over and above these figures, our wish is to see Cameroon regaining the dynamism and the influence once associated with its local football, at a time when the Indomitable Lions are at the centre-stage of the international scene; and at a time when the country is preparing to host the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
Our commitment is to work in partnership with the League to transform the national championships into veritable spectacles worthy of the interest of the Cameroonian public, and particularly the youth.
MTN will put its technology and digital platforms at the disposal of Cameroonian football, to provide more visibility and attractivity to clubs and players of the local championships. Our dream is to see young Cameroonians in one or two years from now, as interested in local players such as Léopold MBEM, Platini KAHAM or David ETOO, as they constantly do with Lionel MESSI, Cristiano RONALDO or Zlatan IBRAHIMOVICH.
In a nutshell, our ambition is to accompany the League in the process of truly professionalizing our championships. Special focus will be placed starting this sports season on the improvement of the management of clubs, and on the inclusion of Sports Medicine, commencing with the installation of a defibrillator at each stadium that shall host MTN ELITE ONE and MTN ELITE TWO games.
The President of the Professional League, Dear Partners,
The great sports competitions which shall attract major TV stations and more sponsors tomorrow, with more significant economic returns for the League, the Clubs, and the Players, shall be built on sports value, qualitative organization and popularity.
The sought-after sports value and popularity exist in Cameroon. It is now time to work on the significant improvement of the quality of football competitions.
The Professional Football League of Cameroon knows that it has in MTN CAMEROON a serious, solid and credible partner who will accompany it in the much needed disruption and innovations which must be put in place to ensure the professionalization of the MTN ELITE ONE and MTN ELITE TWO championships.
As an African company, MTN is proud of contributing towards boosting and developing Cameroon football which has given so much to Africa.
Therefore, let the game…FOOTBALL take center stage!