ZIFA agree Warriors kit deal with Umbro

THE Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has made a kit deal for the Warriors with global British sportswear group, Umbro, it was confirmed Tuesday.

The company, a subsidiary of American company Iconix Brand Group, will kit the Warriors for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) which will be held in South Africa between 11 January and 1 February 2014.

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Zimbabwe are in Group B which includes Burkina Faso, Morocco and Uganda.

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The kit deal was confirmed a day after coach, Ian Gorowa, and his charges that went into camp for the tournament which is reserved for home-based players only.

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Speaking at the launch of the deal in Harare, Umbro sales director Donovan Bell said he hoped the arrangement would culminate in a longer term partnership going beyond the CHAN tournament.

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“Three months ago we were approached to come in as a technical partner and we said we would start with the CHAN team and then go to the women and the junior teams,” he said.

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“Umbro’s slogan for 2014 is ‘Heart and Soul of Football’ and we believe this tallies with the spirit that we have seen in the Warriors. In the few games that I have watched them play, I have seen that kind of spirit.

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“We are going to dress the Warriors squad for CHAN as agreed to between Zifa and Umbro we will provide everything from footwear, T-shirts, training equipment, playing kits, tracksuits and off field attire.

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“We will provide everything they require and since we are based in Cape Town where they are playing we can also get them anything they may further require.”

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Zifa boss Cuthbert Dube, urged Umbro to market the kit among Warriors supporters in South Africa.

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“Today Umbro have seen it fit to dress the Warriors ahead of and during the 2014 CHAN tournament and the association would like to place on record our deepest appreciation and gratitude to Umbro for the interest they have shown in the Warriors brand,” he said.

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“The Warriors brand is a strong brand which no sponsor can afford to ignore. Now that the association has emerged out of the Asiagate madness, the brand equity for the Warriors will get stronger.

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“We urge Umbro to flood the local and South African market with paraphernalia for the fans during the CHAN tournament.

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“We implore Umbro to have confidence in working closely with local football over the next three months beyond which our relationship shall be reviewed.”

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Zifa is struggling with financial problems with Dube often forced to use personal funds to support the association’s activities.

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He called for increased corporate support saying a national association could not continue to rely on an individual.

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“A national team cannot be serviced by a football association whose huge debts are public knowledge. A national team cannot be sponsored by the Zifa president when other national teams, the world over get sponsorship from their governments and sponsors,” he said.

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“The senior national team’s preparations and participation at the 2014 CHAN tournament require sponsorship in respect of apparel, transport, full board accommodation, allowances, beverages, and other cost centres. I once more appeal for sponsors to come to the party in support of the Warriors and other national teams.”

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The government could also get involved, he added.

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“The senior men’s team is our flagship team and we need to give the team all the necessary support if the team is to perform well,” he said.

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“We are aware that government and sponsors have faced challenges over the years in respect of sponsoring national teams. We implore Government to avail, as has been the tradition, a special tournament grant for national teams which qualify for regional, continental and international tournaments.”