Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube is hopeful their new technical partner — Spanish sportswear manufacturer — will more than just supply kits to all national teams, but help spruce the association’s battered image. Speaking at a function to unveil a $100 000 kit sponsorship deal they have entered with Joma, the ZIFA president acknowledged that the association’s image was so poor that it needed more than just the secretariat and the leadership to clean it.
The two-year deal means Joma replace Umbro, who were ZIFA’s kit sponsors in an agreement that was for the African Nations Championships. ZIFA indicated that the deal would cater for the men’s and women’s senior and junior national teams. Dube said they had settled for Joma after a rigorous exercise during which they put the matter to tender.
Joma’s local partners, Patriarch Princeps, will handle the distribution of the equipment that will be handed to ZIFA, with the association looking to rake in some funds from the sale of replica jerseys. “A few months ago we invited bids from reputable companies to become ZIFA’S technical partners and a number of companies were keen to partner.
“They presented or submitted their bids and our association, after a total scrutiny, very fair scrutiny, free and fair there was no rigging, nothing, we then noted that the Spanish giant, Joma, presented an attractive offer. “Joma, as you have seen, is a Spanish international and a reputable brand and we are confident that it will dress our national teams decently and it will also panel-beat our image.
“It is not a secret that our image is bad, that’s why we have asked them to come in and panel-beat it. This Joma deal comes against the background of the arrangement between ZIFA and Umbro, which expired after the CHAN tournament last year and the partnership deal is of paramount importance, extremely important bearing in mind that we should have a uniform identity,’’ Dube said.
Dube said the deal would also mean that ZIFA would not have to run around looking for different kits for the various national teams. “The arrival of our technical partner on board will eliminate issues of running around at the 11th hour to source playing kits in an environment where resources are scarce,” said Dube.
Karim Sali, a representative of Joma from Spain, said they were optimistic the deal will be successful and would go beyond the two years they have agreed so far. “I think this is the first point, I think this is a great success. I am going back to Spain on Tuesday and I will have a long flight but I am going back relieved and happy.
“I see here two great things, one is a great football association with a vision, I see a plan and structure. Thank you Mr president for trusting Joma,’’ Sali said. The Joma representative also paid tribute to their local distributors, who are a brain child of Warriors’ winger Quincy Antipas, and who have already gone into bed with Premiership giants CAPS United.
“I also see a partner, our local partner Patriarch Princeps, I wish Quincy was here but I see muscle and good management. “We are in sport so I see a good structure and I see also wise management. I really thank you all for being here, I really thank again the president of ZIFA for attending, this is your event and I hope our partnership will last more than two years,” said Sali.
ZIFA chief executive Jonathan
Mashingaidze said the sale of Joma merchandise will mark the opening of a new chapter in the local game. “I think this obviously will mark the opening of a new chapter in the history of the local game and also in our bid to reposition ZIFA as an institution. “You will reckon that over the years we have been having this vending relationships with kit situations where we buy kits for the teams. We would buy replicas like for instance we have a partner coming in with the kits for the national teams as well as merchandise and what we the do is we then agree on apportioning the dividends after sales to the general public.
“So our appeal is to the public to embrace this initiative and then be able to consume the product starting next week. “The deal is worth US$100 000 per year in terms of national teams kits as well as the merchandise for the fans. The issue of monetary incentives the partner, they have confirmed that they would want to test the waters first and then confirm their commitment as the two-year deal progresses,” said Mashingaidze.
The ZIFA chief executive said they will put a team in place to distribute the merchandise to all provinces ahead of the Warriors’ game against Guinea at Rufaro on September 6. Mashingaidze said efforts were underway to raise funds to cater for the foreign-based players airfares ahead of the start of the Warriors camp on Monday.
“There has been communication between ZIFA and the clubs, ZIFA and the players and we should then be able to get the responses this weekend. “And then in terms of the travel plans for the players that plan is in place and what would be left now is for us to get the confirmations in terms of the travel itineraries, in terms of arrivals of our players.
“Efforts are underway to ensure that resources are available for this assignment, resources available again for the Mighty Warriors trip to Cameroon and for our crunch fixture against Lesotho in Bulawayo, the CHAN final qualifier. “So as ZIFA it’s our mandate to ensure that the teams are well serviced and we would like to say there are corporates that have said that they are going to be part of the preparations and part of the journey to the championships,” Mashingaidze said.
Patriarch Princeps spokesperson Shane Costa said they have been involved with a number of programmes locally including their partnership with CAPS United.