MTN on Wednesday dumped their Tour de France conquering team. It doesn’t matter. When you’ve battled the hardest mountains in the Alps–blah blah blah, etc etc. But seriously, what’s next for this team? How will they cope? Can they keep making Africans across the continent happy? Or will a certain cell phone company ruin the show? We spoke to Team [Insert Sponsor]-Qhubeka’s Number One, Douglas Ryder. By RICHARD POPLAK.
So you’re a widely loathed globo-megacorp and despite this fact, you’ve just experienced one of the largest PR slam-dunks in South African multinational history, a genuine feelgood story that Disney will–I guarantee you–soon be adapting for the screen, likely with Kevin Costner in a starring role.
What’s your next move?
You screw the feelgood story right where it hurts, of course.
“I mean, fuu-ck,” says Douglas Ryder, rolling his eyes. I’m sitting with the TeamMTN-Qhubeka, sorry!–Team [Insert Sponsor]-Qhubeka’s directeur de sportif at a big faux country table at a restaurant in a Sandton strip mall. I’ve just asked him about the manner in which MTN divested itself of the best Pan-African initiative since Kwame Nkrumah was a thing.
“We grew together,” Ryder tells me, shaking his head. “It was a real,…