Maritzburg United have announced a landmark partnership with renowned global humanitarian body, the Gift of the Givers Foundation.
It is the first time that such an agreement has been signed by an African club – marking a unique new chapter for football on the continent.
As part of the deal, the Team of Choice will display the Gift of the Givers logo on the front of its jersey as it aims to use sport to highlight the importance of unity, hope and service to the community.
These goals were some of the primary objectives of the Maritzburg United owners when they first revived the brand in 2004, with this partnership now providing a springboard for those targets to be met.
“This is a hugely symbolic day in the history of this football club, if not South African football as a whole” Maritzburg United Chairman Farook Kadodia told the media on Tuesday.
“Never before has such an agreement been struck and this relationship now affords us an opportunity to build on our dreams of social cohesion and nation building. These are core values of Gift of the Givers and they have always been shared by us as a club. This opportunity now provides us with an excellent chance to fulfil this mandate of ours to help build a better South Africa.”
The Gift of the Givers has been existence for nearly 30 years and is synonymous for its humanitarian work all across the world.
It is the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent. They have delivered aid and responded to SOS calls in 44 countries, including South Africa, where they have given hope to millions of people by helping with a range of crises.
“We want to help expand on the vision of Gift of the Givers and use the power we have as one of the most well-supported clubs in the country to do that,” Kadodia explained. “I therefore want to thank Doctor Imtiaz Sooliman for his vision and for his foresight in partnering with us.
“Football is the game of the people in South Africa and gives hope to people. This is something the Gift of Givers is a synonymous for giving: hope and so we are extremely proud to be associated with them.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Gift of the Givers branding will be printed on the official Team of Choice playing jersey – another first for the club, who has never had that space occupied before.
Supporter replicas and perimeter boards carrying the Gift of the Givers branding at the Harry Gwala Stadium, amongst other things, are also part of the agreement.
Maritzburg United have also undertaken to avail their head coach and players to work on projects alongside the humanitarian body, who also has its roots in Pietermaritzburg.
“It is a unique partnership between two iconic brands from the city of Pietermaritzburg and one that we have no doubt will bring together success for both parties,” Kadodia added.
Doctor Imtiaz Sooliman, founder and head of Gift of the Givers, welcomed the partnership with Maritzburg United.
“Gift of the Givers appreciates the magnanimous gesture of Maritzburg United granting us prestige positioning of our brand on the front of their shirt,” he stated. “What makes the gesture even sweeter is the fact that both organisations have their humble beginnings in the City of Choice.
“We call on the citizens of our city to get behind our home-grown team as we wish them all the best for the new season with the firm conviction that they are going to excel, make us proud and serve as an inspiration for the youth of our society.”
There is no commercial agreement between the two parties, meaning the space on the front of the jersey has been availed to Gift of the Givers without any financial consideration.
“It is the goodwill of one iconic Pietermaritzburg brand to another Pietermaritzburg brand that has captured the hearts of ordinary South Africans for over 30 years,” Sooliman added.