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Shifting The Future Of SA Soccer 15/10/03
With sponsorship of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Ajax Cape Town, Black Leopards, and most recently Jomo Cosmos, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan are fast becoming synonymous with local football.

But what's in it for them? SAsoccer365 journo Shahied Joseph quizzed Nissan's communications manager Tania Steenkamp about the company's involvement in local football...

"Soccer is a growing sport and we at Nissan want to be identified with the sport through supporting its development and by building relationships with the clubs and their supporters." said an excited Steenkamp on Wednesday.

"Our sponsorship with Cosmos is very special. As you know Jomo Sono is a terrific talent scout and now he does not have to do all the scouting himself. With Nissan's sponsorship he now has four talent scouts going into the rural areas and this is great for the development of soccer.

"At the same time awareness of the brand is created and people can now identify Nissan with the club they support."

Steenkamp is confident that Nissan's involvement will improve the popularity of the brand with the incentives they have in place for clubs and it's fans.

"Our agreements with clubs are not based on just being a sponsor. With Ajax and Chiefs we had an incentive for player of the year where the individuals receives a car, so this association is positive for all."

"We have six soccer teams at our plant in Rosslyn that Nissan support's and we also give them tickets to games. In this way our staff feel appreciated and it's a win-win situation for everyone. It's what I call an internal motivator especially for the Chiefs and Pirates supporters."

"We not only want to be associated with the biggest teams or the winning teams -obviously it would be great for the team if they win everything - but there is no pressure from Nissan on the clubs to perform in any way." "What we do want is to develop a positive association with the brand and linking it to the clubs we sponsor. This relationship building is good for Nissan and great for our soccer and we want to be involved in it for a long and prosperous time."

Nissan have been supplying vehicles to South African's for over 40 years and are now shifting the expectations of development in football. If their track record in the automotive industry is considered then their contribution to soccer will be highly significant in years to come.

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