Johannesburg, South Africa – November 11, 2022 – PUMA South Africa today celebrates a decade with Mamelodi Sundowns star Themba Zwane, one of the greatest footballers of his generation.
“PUMA is a brand the prides itself on partnering with special players including Jomo Sono and Doc Khumalo and when we first saw Themba Zwane play his talent was self-evident,” said Tshepo Mashishi, PUMA SA Regional Marketing Manager. “Little did we know we were beginning a partnership that would go on for so many years with so much success on the pitch.”
Zwane described partnering with PUMA as “a stroke of luck”. “When PUMA approached me back then I was still in my first season as a professional player in the PSL. For them to show interest in me when I was unknown and unproven, speaks volume about their way of looking at and nurturing talent.”
A golden decade has followed in which Zwane has won league titles, the CAF Champions League and been named PSL Footballer of the Year. “It has been a very professional relationship that has been managed well by both me and the brand. They have listened to my needs as a footballer and supported me on and off the pitch,” said Zwane.
“Tshepo was my first contact at PUMA and our professional and personal relationship has developed over the years. It also helps that both Tshepo and Lefa Tsutsulupa (PUMA SA Football Sponsorship Coordinator) are ex-football pros and understand our needs. I really appreciate all they have done for me over the years.”
Zwane said the quality football boots also kept him loyal to the brand. “PUMA boots have evolved over time. I started with Powercat, wore EvoPower, Future and now Future Z. Every time the boot updates, it feels lighter and more comfortable.”
“An added advantage to being part of the PUMA brand, is the lifestyle clothing and footwear is second to none. I have developed a big appetite for sneakers because of the variety we are offered. My family are also big PUMA lifestyle fans.”
Zwane said mental strength was the part of his game which had evolved the most over the past decade: “The physical, technical and tactical aspects are very important, but without mental strength you can’t survive at this demanding level.”
Summing up the coaches who have guided his career, he said: “Clive Barker gives you the confidence that nothing is impossible; Shakes Mashaba instils the fighting spirit; Johan Neeskens encourages freedom on the pitch; Pitso Mosimane develops a winning mentality; Steve Kompela is a great motivator; Rhulani Mokwena is a modern coach who pushes you to learn new ways; Manqoba Mngqithi is a father figure who can interact with you as a player beyond the pitch.”
Zwane had some sage advice for young players considering a partnership with a sponsor. “Be with a brand that is an extension of you, that shares your values. The partnership should be for the long-term, so always represent the brand in a positive way and in return the brand will do right by you.”
Mashishi said Zwane was recognised as one of the best players of his generation, but what he brought beyond his natural footballing talent was professionalism, a work ethic, discipline and consistency.
“He also treats his partners with respect and is always available when needed to attend planning meetings and photo shoots,” he explained. “In addition, he is a positive and amazing influence on younger fans who look to him for inspiration. All in all, Themba is a terrific ambassador for PUMA both on and off the pitch. We look forward to partnering in even more successes as we stride into the future.”