Wednesday, 07 July 2021 17:46

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

As South African football’s most decorated club, Kaizer Chiefs understands better than most that a great team helps a club to win titles. But a great partnership helps a club to make history and build a legacy.

There is a particular partnership that has served as the foundation upon which Kaizer Chiefs will now embark on one of their greatest challenges as they battle for the title of greatest in Africa.

For the first time in their illustrious history, Kaizer Chiefs have secured a place in the CAF Champions League Final.

And they will celebrate this moment with their greatest partner Vodacom, who has been on this journey with them since 1998.

In recognition of this achievement, for 10 days Vodacom will reward fans who recharge with R12 or more with the chance to win R10 000 plus a Kaizer Chiefs jersey, starting from 7 July 2021. To enter dial *120*123#.  That’s a shot at glory for 10 days for R10 000 every single day. And should Kaizer Chiefs win the final, Vodacom will celebrate with 10 winners each receiving R10 000 on that day.

The reality is that the history that beckons for Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday 17 July when they face Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the final was first written into existence with the signing of this great partnership in 1998.

It was within three years of signing with Vodacom that Kaizer Chiefs enjoyed arguably their most successful season in history. In the 2001-02 season, the Amakhosi swept all before them as they won four trophies in four months, including the Vodacom Challenge, BP Top Eight, Coca-Cola Cup and the African Cup Winners’ Cup. It resulted in the club being named the CAF Club of the Year.

It wasn’t long thereafter that Kaizer Chiefs won their first Premier Soccer League title with Vodacom in the 2003-04 season. And as Vodacom grew its influence in South Africa, Kaizer Chiefs followed suit in a true partnership of success on the field and off it.

When the Vodacom Challenge was launched in 1999, it proved the perfect stage for Kaizer Chiefs to entrench its growing status as a powerhouse of African football. From 1999 to 2005, Kaizer Chiefs won three of the seven Vodacom Challenge titles – the most of any participating club. Then between 2006 and 2011, as the might of European football was invited to participate, Kaizer Chiefs beat both Manchester United and Manchester City to claim Vodacom Challenge glory and claim their place in the tournament’s history as the most successful club with five titles.

But the success of this longstanding sponsorship has been its evolution into a partnership between two icons that have been on a shared journey of growth.

In 2011, when Vodacom made the quantum brand shift from blue to red, Kaizer Chiefs was the first to unveil this in a public space other than in the commercials of the time, and proudly displayed the new red logo through the creative use of a flash mob at a match they were playing in Polokwane.

The bond between the two became even closer as they embarked on the joint venture of KC Mobile, a prepaid SIM card offered by Vodacom to Kaizer Chiefs fans who could benefit from exclusive deals and opportunities.

And in 2020, Vodacom proudly took its place on the iconic black and gold jersey that celebrated the 50th anniversary of this historic Soweto football club.

It’s a partnership that has reached deep into the Kaizer Chiefs community through initiatives such as the Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout on the fields of Naturena, with the clear message to this generation of fathers to #BeAPresentDad.

And when the Coronavirus pandemic devastated South African families, Vodacom teamed up with Kaizer Chiefs as part of the Sisonke Siya Winna campaign and donated 425 food parcels to the Kaizer Motaung Junior Foundation. This same campaign captured the imagination of the country’s football fans as Vodacom tapped into the unique spirit of what it means to be a Kaizer Chiefs fan by sourcing and rebuilding an iconic Kentucky Rounder (Toyota Twincam GLi Sprinter) in the club’s style and colours, and to be won by a lucky fan. The intimate understanding of the very personal relationship between Vodacom and Kaizer Chiefs shone through in the success of this campaign, as over one million fans entered the competition.

"Our association with Kaizer Chiefs has always been far more than just a sponsorship. We’ve been partners in an over two-decade long journey that has provided unprecedented success on the field, and a meaningful community contribution off it," said Abey Mokgwatsane, Vodacom Managing Executive Brand and Communications.

"This relationship goes far beyond a sponsorship. It’s evolved into a shared purpose that has unlocked a much richer relationship of loyalty and legacy beyond just the logo on a team jersey. And now, over two decades of this partnership will be distilled into 10 days of giveaways, in preparation for one day of football history for Kaizer Chiefs. One Khosi. One Nation.  Further Together."