'We are extremely proud of our decision to support the South African America's Cup Team. We believe Shosholoza is a true reflection of the values and characteristics of high-tech sailing and what the T-Systems brand stands for. This investment is also clear proof that South Africa is an important market for T-Systems and shows the company's long-term commitment to the country - we are here to make a difference,' said Wolfgang JAKOB, CEO of T-Systems South Africa.
Shosholoza - ambitious newcomer to the America's Cup 'This sponsorship immediately jettisons us three steps forward in our campaign and represents a huge boost for Team Shosholoza and the South African America's Cup Challenge for 2007,' said Captain Salvatore SARNO, Managing Director for Team Shosholoza, SA America's Cup Challenge 2007.
He went on to say that being part of a huge corporation like Deutsche Telekom through T-Systems International will not only make the Team feel more important, but also more secure in the knowledge that they are in good hands. 'More importantly it means the team can be more confident in achieving their dream of going to Valencia in 2007 and more confident that they will have a second new race yacht in 2006.'
The goal of the South African team is to make it to the quarter finals. 'After that point, anything's possible,' said Captain Sarno. He pointed out that the performance of the Alinghi team of Switzerland at last year's Cup demonstrated the possibility for a newcomer to oust the favorites.
Team Shosholoza has already signed up most of South Africa's top yachtsmen including SA international skipper Geoff MEEK, SA Olympic sailor Ian AINSLIE and top British yachtsman Paul STANDBRIDGE as sailing manager as well as local championship title holders. Crack local crews have interrupted promising careers and other top South African sailors have flown in from around the world to join Team Shosholoza. A new race yacht will be unveiled in late April in time for the next seven preliminary races in Europe when Shosholoza will be competing against the seven other America's Cup teams.
Mafika MKWANAZI, President of the SA America's Cup Challenge for 2007 also welcomed the T-Systems sponsorship. 'In the 10 years since democracy all of us have forged a togetherness and a union that we can be tremendously proud of. This refreshing new spirit of co-operation and desire to become a truly great nation is synonymous with all that Team Shosholoza stands for. I must complement President Mbeki and his cabinet for making our country a land of new opportunities in sport and in business.'
He describes Team Shosholoza as a proudly South African initiative that has already captured the imagination of the world's media. 'The team is fully representative of all South Africans, our new yacht has been designed and is currently being built in South Africa and now T-Systems, through their commitment to our campaign as a chief sponsor, has confirmed their confidence in our democracy. It so perfectly illustrates how we can generate jobs and much revenue for the country by working together on all aspects of our America's Cup campaign.'
'When Team Shosholoza competes against the best teams in the world in the next few years and at the ultimate match in Valencia in 2007 she will be watched by a live television audience of over a billion people, but more importantly T-Systems will be the wind in her sails,' said Mkwanazi.
With the sponsorship of the Shosholoza team T-Systems is expanding its involvement in the field of high-tech sailing, which is emblematic of T Systems' positioning within the market. Since 2004 the worldwide image campaign of this global IT and communications service provider has been centred on competitive sailing. 'Sailing epitomizes a perfect inter-play of strategy, tactics, perseverance, flexibility, speed and mastery of state-of-the-art technologies - implemented by a highly motivated and excellent team - all characteristics of the T-Systems brand,' explains Jakob. 'Through sailing as a communications theme we bring our brand, our values, competencies and customers together.'
He went on to say, 'In high-tech sailing, the team is the key - it is the team that battles unwaveringly to nose ahead of the competition no matter the challenge and in this Team Shosholoza not only inspires motivation, their enthusiasm, passion and commitment to each other appeals to audiences,' says Jakob.The Shosholoza sponsorship is one of the three pillars upon which T Systems' sponsoring strategy is built. As part of T-Systems' ongoing co-operation with the German Sailing Association (DSV), the company will be sponsoring two teams from each of the 49er, Tornado, and women's Yngling Olympic boat classes through to the 2008 Olympics. The third pillar of the strategy is to set up an exchange programme with Germany for up-and-coming South African sailors in the near future.
'There is an ocean full of possibilities on the horizon for Team Shosholoza. Not only do they carry the hopes of a nation into the Cup Challenge as the very first African team to compete, but they will also carry with them the support of every T-Systems' employee across the globe who will depend on their courage and determination to see them tenaciously strive for the best results possible. They have already made history simply by entering, now we look forward to whatever exciting prospects lie ahead,' concludes Jakob.