Though officials from both parties were playing their cards close to their chests, sources confirmed that the deal worth US$1 million running for two years would be signed within the next few days.
“The deal is as good as a done deal. Marange Resources want to see the improvement of the national team’s performances and the only way to achieve that is to sponsor the domestic league.
“The performance of the team in the past games has attracted the attention of local sponsors and that is what we want for the growth of the sport. The franchise system is the one that churns out the players so there is need for it to have great funding.
The money will go towards all the forms of the game and will be available for next season. Negotiations are currently going on for the naming rights of the tournaments,” said the source.
ZC chief executive officer Ozias Bvute could not shed light on the development saying he was in a meeting each time Standardsport called.
The coming in of Marange Resources would add to other competitions in the domestic league that includes Castle Logan Cup, Coca Cola Pro50 championships and the Stanbic Twenty20 series.
The country’s domestic cricket season which has five franchises –Tuskers, Mashonaland Eagles, Mountaineers, Midwest Rhinos and Southern Rocks competing — runs from September to March.
Delta Beverages are the major sponsors of the country’s franchise system through their Coca Cola and Castle Lager brands in which they respectively sponsor the Logan Cup and the Pro50 championships.
The game has been going down in the country but the introduction of the franchise system two seasons ago has been an essential part of ZC’s attempt at financial revival because it has allowed a number of players to earn salaries.
The ZC supplies the five franchises with grants to contract 20 players each, although often for small amounts.
A number of top players have been in the country for the domestic competition with the latest being Chris Gayle who turned out for Tuskers in the just-ended Stanbic Twenty20 tournament.
Other big names who have in the past graced the country’s domestic league are Brian Lara who played for Southern Rocks and Jason Neil Gillespie who had a short stint with Midwest Rhinos.
The coming in of Marange Resources on the sport arena comes hard on the hills of Mbada Diamonds who sponsored the country’s major 16-team knock-out tournament in soccer, which was won by Dynamos.