Zifa seeks long-term Umbro deal

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ZIFA will meet this week to review the Umbro kit deal amid indications the national football association is seeking a long-term technical supply deal that will take the Warriors through the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and beyond.

BY WELLINGTON TONI
SPORTS EDITOR

Umbro dressed the Warriors during the just-ended African Nations Championships (Chan) in South Africa where the national team finished fourth after reaching the semi-finals for the first time. The Warriors drew 0-0 against both Morocco and Uganda before beating Burkina Faso 1-0 to reach the last eight.

Then the Warriors beat Mali in the quarterfinals 2-1 before they were ousted by eventual cup winners Libya. In the third place play off, the Warriors lost 1-0 to Nigeria.

For the deal, the Warriors were supplied with full training kits, including tracksuits and two playing kits while replicas were also being sold for a reasonable figure of $28 at Umbro’s Montague Gardens shop in Cape Town where the national team was mainly based.

Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela told NewsDay Sport on Friday that the national association was even looking at going to tender to get the best deal.

“The Zifa board will meet next week (this week) and review the deal, but we might also got to tender,” he said.

Zifa is looking at including the junior and women’s teams in the new deal.

Speaking during the launch of the kit deal in December last year, Umbro South Africa sales manager Donovan Bell said in case they continue their ties with the Warriors, the sponsorship will cascade down to women’s and youth teams as well as supporters’ regalia.

“We were approached by Zifa three months ago and for a full package you need to work on it six months before you seal a long-term deal. So at least for now we will sponsor the Warriors at the Chan and maybe we will take it up further from there to include the ladies and junior teams,” Bell said.

“This sponsorship is good for the players so that they feel confident on and off the pitch in our material. The Warriors are a very big brand with huge following not only in Zimbabwe, but back home in South Africa as well.”

Since Italian sports apparel manufacturer Legea cut ties with the Warriors, Zifa has been struggling to secure a technical sponsor with a proposed deal with Puma also falling through. Zifa had apparently signed a five year with Legea, but called the national association called it off after it got no returns.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf), which is sponsored by Adidas, had offered to find technical suppliers for national teams, but with the Zimbabwe often failing to qualify for grand stage — Afcon and the World Cup-returns could have been lower for the kit manufacturer.

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