Japanese sponsor for Black Aces

2014-08-03 15:00

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In 2009, Japanese player Norikazu Murakami became the first player from the Asian country to ply his trade in the Absa Premiership.

This week, Mpumalanga Black Aces introduced another Japanese connection to these shores in the form of a two-year sponsorship from the International Sports Promotion Society, which is also known as ISPS Handa.

ISPS Handa was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes through sport.

“Networking is very important and we chose Aces to gradually go into soccer as another vehicle to connect people through the sport,” he said. But Handa would not reveal the value of the sponsorship.

Handa, a big golf fan, is not new to South African sport.

“We were the presenting sponsor of the Nelson Mandela Championship golf tournament for two years and the contract ended last year,” said the multitalented 63-year-old.

He is also a poet, actor and opera singer.

“We raised about $300?000 (R3?million) in the first year and unfortunately, Madiba passed away in the second year, but the donation went up to $35?million.

“All these profits from the tournament were part of fundraising for building the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.”

Handa said his relationship with Aces was “not about the money, but another way of creating a good network to support charitable organisations through sport”.

As for how he makes his money, he said: “I have 20 businesses in Japan, Australia, the UK?– ranging from management consulting to publishing?–?and I have set up TV and radio stations in Japan.”

Handa said Aces would hold their preseason training in Japan next year as part of the deal.

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