Sunderland’s new major sponsor Tullow Oil believes the Invest in Africa initiative by the club will make the Black Cats the most famous Premier League team in Africa.
Aidan Heavey of Tullow Oil, who is the lead partner in the two-year sponsorship deal, said: “I think it’s a great move for Sunderland and for ourselves.
“We are trying to change perceptions about Africa and this is the perfect way to get the message across globally that Africa is a place which is not just surviving but in so many cases thriving.
“And when you look at the recession we’ve endured, many of the companies that have ridden it out have been ones that have been investing in Africa, which is full of growth economies.
“It’s a great continent but it’s also a continent that is football mad and this sponsorship deal will capture the imagination over there.
“Mark my words, Sunderland will be the best known club in Africa over the next few years.”
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill said: “Our vision is to compete with the very best and I think this association with Invest in Africa will help us grow on the international stage.
“It’s something which is really different.
“We want to promote and enhance growth and development in the African continent. It’s something we’ll get benefit out of as well and it will help us with our mission to be a really top club.
“The tradition of this club is fantastic but its future is also vitally important and we hope this initiative is going to bring benefits to everyone.”