Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s new technical sponsors, Umbro, have pleaded with the football fraternity to have faith in their brand, saying they will not disappoint.
Umbro were recently awarded a three year contract to dress all the national teams.
With the Zebras having been kitted by local company All Kasi for the last three years, most of Batswana have shown their displeasure at the new sponsors. Some accused the association of showing faith in a foreign company while All Kasi has done a fantastic job, having rescued BFA when nobody wanted to be associated with them.
When the Zebras walked onto the field against Bafana Bafana in the 2014 World Cup qualifier in their new gear, there was lots of murmurings from the spectators.
Some argued that All Kasi should have given a chance to continue kitting the national teams. But the association has taken its decision and it is up to the new sponsors to prove their worth.
Umbro Botswana representative, Monty Robert, told Sunday Standard on Friday afternoon that he is not surprised that the football community doubts them.
“The nation is not wrong to show displeasure because that’s our nature as Batswana when there is transition. I want to assure Batswana that we’re going to make it a point that all the Botswana national teams are taken care of. Remember that Umbro is an international brand which sponsors England, Canada, club sides like Manchester City and others,” said Robert.
He added that their main role as the sponsors is to ensure that all the national teams are presentable when in camp, training, playing and travelling.
He pointed out that people doubt them after seeing the kit which was used in the game against Bafana Bafana.
“People have a perception that the kit, which was used at the weekend, was the real thing. No. That kit was an off-shelf thing because the game came at a time when the deal had just been signed. We’re currently working on the real design with our partners (BFA) and we’ll definitely come up with something which will make the nation happy,” said Robert.
He assured Batswana that when the Zebras play the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in September, the Zebras will be using what he termed a ‘fantastic kit’, which meets the demands of international football. He said that they are going to provide all sorts of goodies for the Zebras something which has not been heard of in local football.
“We’re busy in talks with a retail store to ensure that when the replicas are available, people can easily access them country wide. We want the replicas to be affordable to the masses so that when they attend the Zebras’ games, they’re putting them (replicas) on. The supporters would also be able to buy things like bags, winter jackets, sweaters, tracksuits and others,” said Robert.