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Pomp as Simba Group unveils Kanu as ambassador

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Named as brand ambassador by Simba Group, the choice of two-time African Footballer of the Year and former Super Eagles captain, Nwankwo Kanu, was a masterstroke, reports MORAKINYO ABODUNRIN.

With the increasing recognition of  sports sponsorship as  a strategy through which firms can generate significant marketing advantages many companies have taken up the opportunities of using it to attract brand loyalty.

Some have even gone further to appoint brand ambassadors  to help raise brand awareness and increase sales and it’s therefore not a surprise that the Simba Group, distributors of Nigeria’s leading brands in the tricycle, motorcycle and power bike sector has embraced this model.

Over the years, the company has been sponsoring  the Nigerian national teams including the three-time African champions the   Super Eagles and the record African women’s football champions, the Super  Falcons.

To consolidate their relationship with the country’s football, the company  on Wednesday unveiled Nigerian soccer legend,  Kanu Nwankwo,  its brand  ambassador.

Kanu’s  entrance  to the  Lagos  corporate office of the  Simba Group was  triumphant  as he stood out  practically  like a king  in his well-styled black Kaftan outfit  which complimented his red-coloured baseball cap.

The heroic welcome  for Papilo  by the management and  staff of Simba  Group  was more than the ordinary  as it was  a microcosm of the reception accorded the national Under-23  soccer  team when  the former Arsenal striker led Nigeria  win Africa’s first soccer Gold medal at theAtlanta’96 Olympics.

The whole environment was bursting as  the seamsand what an Olympic feelings for both the management and staff of Simba  when the long-awaited  August visitor was  finally driven to their Lagos Corporate Headquarters .

With a ‘ guard of honour’ mounted by the staff,  Papilo went round  shaking hands ( in knuckles as per COVID-19 protocols)  smiling and taking selfies, the management were already congratulating their choice of him as their brand ambassador.

The choice of Kanu is not far-fetched being  one the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all times winning a total of 14 major trophies  in   clubs  and country colours but this particular unveiling was a classic of using a stone to kill two birds.

Unlike  a typical signing that involves just appending of signatures, Kanu went on tour of the factory  and  had a feel of virtually all its products  as he sat comfortably on several displayed models of motorcycles and tricycle to the amazement of mesmerised staff of the company.

But the import of this ceremony was not lost on Mr. Mahendra Pratap, Business Head of Simba TVS by reiterating the choice of Kanu as the Simba TVS Ambassador.

“We are honoured and humbled that the legend of Nigerian football, Kanu Nwankwo, is endorsing TVS King Tricycles and motorcycles, emphasising that the two-time African player of the year embodied our brand’s core values of trust, value and service through his dedication to this great nation,”remarkedthe genial Pratap with his boyish smiles during the formal signing.

Though the Simba Group berthed in Nigeria in 1988, they furthercemented their relationship with Nigerian football shortly before the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup when they formalised an agreement with the NFF to make TVS the Official Motorcycle and Tricycle Partner of the Super Eagles.

Yet,  Simba Group ‘s  Marketing  Head,  Mr. Karthik Govindarajan, was all over the moon with the choice  of Kanu as the company’s Ambassador.

“As the official motorcycle and tricycle of the Super Eagles, Simba TVS already has a close association with football, a sport that is close to every Nigerian,” he offered.

“With the ambassadorship of Kanu Nwankwo himself, we are happy to take that association even further because Papilo is a respected figure in Nigerian football and we are really looking forward to  working with him to drive our vision of promoting our products as well as Nigerian football.”

But how   does Kanu himself feel about  this particular ambassadorial  position?

“I am extremely happy to be associated with Simba TVS;I know the company and have seen their contributions to both the development of the motorcycle and tricycle sector, and especially their empowerment programme for dealers, customers and riders who patronise their products,” offered the two-time African Footballer of the Year in his acceptance speech .

While endorsing Simba’s products, the soccer legend  thanked the company for their support for football in Nigeria through their sponsorship of the Nigerian National team, the Super Eagles.

He explained: “I have the singular honour and privilege of recommending their products- the TVS King tricycle, the HLX+ motorcycle and the apache power bike, first and foremost because of their quality and as well for their after sales service policy as demonstrated in their workshops spread all over Nigeria.

On why he took up the prestigious role, Kanu regarded as the greatest player of his generation and one of Africa’s best ever said being distributors of the best products in their categories in the country, it was only a matter  meet and proper for him to associate with them. Says he:

“They are number one and best in their areas of business and so our relationship is bound to be an interesting one; I am also doing this because of their quality and after sales services as the company places a strong emphasis on empowerment, and runs specific programs targeted at empowerment of women and the youth, as well as provides welfare for the mechanic and rider communities.”

Kanu added  matter-of-factly that his role was to project  the image of the company and create the awareness for their brands:“ How many Nigerians know all about what Simba TVS has been doing for Nigerian football?  So, my coming in part will also make Nigerians appreciate what they have been doing in this all important area.”

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