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Zifa seek Puma deal

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Zifa, buoyed by a successful test run of their new Puma kit and replicas during Zimbabwe’s 2-1 win over Mali in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday at Rufaro Stadium, is seeking a three-year deal with the German sportswear manufacturer as their technical supplier.

Zifa recently ended their unfruitful partnership with Legea, where the national association did not get a cent from the sale of replica jerseys.

The new Puma kit, won by the Warriors in the match, was launched last Friday night at a local hotel with just 100 jerseys available, selling at $50 each, having been brought into the country in time for the match.

Zifa board member for marketing Nigel Munyati told NewsDay Sport yesterday that he would be heading to Johannesburg, South Africa, to meet representatives of the organisation for further discussions.

“There was a tremendous response to the replicas although we had only a few, but I can say the test run yielded positive results.

“Now we need to come up with a deal that will see kits being provided for all national teams and that quality replicas are available at a cheaper price for everyone. As such we are looking at a long-term deal and I will be going to South Africa, pending confirmation of the meeting, for further discussions before the end of the week.

“The indications are that we can get a deal and we need to convince them that we are a brand, particularly if the country continues to perform well in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

“We are looking at a three-year renewable deal, subject to both parties being happy and satisfied with progress and benefits of the deal,” Munyati said.

The Warriors are third in Group A in the 2012 qualifiers with two games against Liberia (home) and Cape Verde Islands (away) left to play. Six points from the two matches would take the Warriors to only their third finals appearance.

Puma head of corporate communications Ulf Santjer and public relations manager Sara Gottman did not respond to questions sent to them on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe had twice defied Legea’s call to stop wearing rival brand Adidas during their matches. The Warriors wore the Adidas brand during friendly matches against South Africa and Japan in February and June respectively before the 2010 World Cup prior to switching to Puma.

Zifa then signalled their strong intentions to change over to Puma last September when the senior national team wore Puma tracksuits during a reception ahead of the first qualifier away to Liberia.

But they could not don the new kit or sign a pre-contract with Puma because of complications with the Legea deal.

Zifa and Legea signed a five-year deal on August 3 2006 which gave them the right to receive, distribute and sell Zimbabwe team kit replicas, in addition to sponsoring the national teams’ kits.

Last year, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) offered its associations technical assistance which included supplying them with kits.

Caf is sponsored by Adidas. In a letter dated June 13 Caf marketing director Amr Shaheen wrote:

“Caf is offering technical assistance to national associations affiliated to it, subject to those national associations not having any existing agreement with a technical sponsor or official outfitter.

“Caf will assume full costs of the equipment and sports material provided to the national association as part of its assistance programme.”

All applications, Shaheem said, were to be submitted by July 1 2010, but Zifa had already decided on Puma.

On Tuesday, Puma announced it had entered into a new partnership with the South African Football Association (Safa) to become the immediate official technical supplier in a deal lasting beyond the next two Fifa World Cups.

Puma will provide the official playing kits for all associated South African teams, including the National “A”, youth and women’s teams. Puma is also Safa’s official partner in relation to replica kits, fanwear and other merchandise, basically the same deal that Zifa is seeking.

South Africa became the 12th African team to be outfitted by Puma.

The German company is also supplying the Orange Africa Cup of Nations champions Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Togo, Burkina Faso, Malawi and
Namibia.

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