ZIFA will launch the Warriors Umbro kit next week but the decision by the kit suppliers to add some red vertical stripes on the gold home jersey is already sparking a backlash on Twitter from some disappointed fans.
The association’s spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, revealed yesterday they renewed their vows with British sportswear manufacturer, Umbro, who committed to meet their side of the bargain before the Warriors leave for the AFCON finals.
However, ZIFA should expect to take some stick from some fans unhappy with the departure from the traditional plain gold and green colours which had become the Warriors’ identity over the years.
The new strip has an additional bold red colour stripe, to resemble the Spanish giants Barcelona’s away shirt design, which would make the Warriors appear strange.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association and Umbro today announced the consummation of their long-term partnership as the parties continue their preparations for the upcoming Total Africa Cup of Nations finals,’’ ZIFA said in a statement.
“The Warriors begin their campaign against Egypt in the prestigious opening match on 21 June, 2019, and will wear the Umbro-designed kit, which incorporates the most advanced lightweight performance fabrics designed for movement and breath-ability.
“The parties also confirmed the plans for the official kit launch which will be held on the 16th of May in Harare at a retail partner to be announced.
“Replica jerseys and supporters’ apparel will also be available for purchase on the day.
“The Warriors home kit was inspired by Zimbabwe’s traditional yellow jersey with an added modern twist, using a mix of solid and gradient red vertical stripes.
“This clean and contemporary design ensures the home jersey will be a fan favourite. The away kit was inspired by the traditional colours of the Zimbabwean national flag.
“The use of solid green for the jersey, yellow for the shorts, and red for the socks incorporates the colours of the flag in simple yet classic design features.
“Umbro has committed to partnering with major local retailers to distribute replica products and supporters gear to ensure that fans can participate in the growth and performance of the National Team as they take part in Africa’s premier tournament.”
The prices of the replicas will be revealed in due course.
However, some Twitter users who responded to the announcement were not happy with the colours that appear to depart from the tradition.
“They forget that fans have to pay to buy the replicas. We will not buy mudhosvo. As it is, some fans have been wearing Bafana Bafana replicas to Warriors matches due to poor kits from ZIFA,” wrote one fan.
The other fan posted: “Warriors wearing that Barca/Ghana stripes. Rega timirire tione. Let’s hope it’s a good design that will bring back money to ZIFA.”
There was yet another response: “None will buy that Ghana like thing! Why are you forcing that ugly thing on our warriors?”
ZIFA president Felton Kamambo yesterday said they are looking forward to a fulfilling relationship with Umbro.
“This should end all speculation in the market place about our partnership. We are proud to partner with such an established global sportswear brand and the parties have been working extremely hard over the past few weeks to structure this long-term partnership.
“We are in this for the long term and are excited about the opportunity,” said Kamambo.
UMBRO South Africa chief executive David Ricketts was also optimistic.
“This is a momentous occasion for us and an exciting opportunity to partner with Zimbabwe as they embark on their AFCON campaign and beyond.
“We have created fantastic designs and superior technical kit befitting Zimbabwe’s passionate fans.’’