BY HENRY MHARA
ZIFA have clinched a kit sponsorship deal with English sportswear giant Umbro, who will dress up all national teams for the next three years.
The association has had no kit sponsor since the expiry of their relationship with Mafro last year.
This has seen national teams having to play with unbranded kits since then.
But following the coming in of a new executive led by Felton Kamambo exactly two months today, Zifa announced last month that they were working on securing a reputable kit sponsor for the national teams.
And yesterday, Kamambo and his team announced they had partnered with Umbro in a three-year deal, with an option of an additional two years.
The contract will be reviewed annually.
“Since our assuming of office at Zifa, we have been working tirelessly to make sure that our national teams dress appropriately during matches, camping, when they travel and in training. We have engaged Umbro as our official kit sponsor for the next three years,” Kamambo told a Press conference in Harare yesterday.
Umbro will give the national teams new kits every year, and will replace it at the start of every new season for the entire duration of the contract.
The Warriors will be the first national team to wear the Umbro kit when they face Congo Brazzaville in a decisive Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on March 24, where Zimbabwe need at least a point to secure a ticket to the tournament finals.
Kamambo said they had negotiations with several kit sponsors, but it was Umbro which offered the best deal.
“We went to South Africa last week and engaged quite a number of kit manufacturers, and settled for Umbro because they gave us the best deal. Umbro is a reputable sportswear and football equipment manufacturer,” he said.
Zifa have already forwarded the specifications to Umbro on the type and quality of jerseys they want.
Umbro is an English sportswear and football equipment supplier, and they design, source, and market football-related apparel.
They currently provide national teams of countries such as Peru, Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Botswana.
They also sponsor Everton and West Ham in the English Premier League.
The Zifa president said they were targeting to sell one million replicas in the next three years, adding that in the first year, they were targeting to sell at least
“We are optimistic that our partnership with Umbro will enhance our visibility as a big football brand. Umbro has a capacity to provide replicas for our supporters, unlike previously when it was almost impossible to get national team jerseys,” Kamambo said.
“These are just the first steps towards a long journey of restoring our brand and uplifting it to the top, which is where it is supposed to be. I have always said the Warriors brand is one of the best in southern Africa. There is no doubt that we are a powerhouse in the region and that should be complemented by the way we operate.”
The replica jerseys will be sold at Zifa offices countrywide as well as at selected food courts, supermarkets and sports shops.
“We will sell them at a very reasonable price so that they become affordable to all our supporters. The prices will be announced in due course.”
Zifa said they had engaged law enforcement agents to minimise the scourge of piracy of the replicas.
“All stakeholders should play a major role to ensure that we awaken this sleeping giant. We have been compromised for far too long,” Kamambo said.
Umbro representative Errol Dicks said his company was thrilled to be partnering with Zimbabwe.
“When this opportunity came to awaken this sleeping giant, we jumped at it. We have offered the same exact product to Botswana and we look after their entire commercial rights. It’s the full attire, playing, training, travelling, tracksuits, rain suits and takkies to everything. Whatever a big international team receives, Umbro is going to ensure that we facilitate that to all the teams concerned in Zifa,” Dicks said.
“This is a sleeping giant of African football. Watching a local derby between Highlanders and Dynamos or Caps and Dynamos, there is 40 000 spectators going crazy so our concern is not about selling replicas, ours is to service the entertainment industry.
“People want to come to the matches to be entertained and they want to wear the right attire to be entertained so we are excited about having the opportunity of giving that to the people. The replica sale is just a mere formality, people are proud of this nation, they are proud of the brand so the sales will look after itself.”