Big Bullets and Silver Strikers have asked US-based Nsejjere Holdings to get back a consignment of replica jerseys it supplied to the clubs as the merchandise is not faring well on the market.
In an e-mail communication addressed to the cloth line chairperson Isaac Nsejjere, which was copied to Super League of Malawi (Sulom) treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda, Silver complained that due to the poor quality of the replica jerseys, supporters are unwilling to buy the product.
“Our role as a club, according to the contract, is to promote and market the product. However, we have received resistance from fans due to poor quality of the product. We have given them two options and that is to either recall the product and send a better one or slash the prices.
“We are not making any progress in this contract, hence; we wrote them the letter. The problem is that their marketing manager does not live in the country and it is difficult to work with them,” said Silver general secretary Fred Kalonga who wrote the letter of complaint.
Kalonga said the problem with the whole contract is that the local clubs were not consulted on the design and the quality of the replica jerseys.
“We were only sent pictures of how the product looks, but by then they had already manufactured the shirts. We did not know that the quality was cheap. The feedback, we got from supporters is that once the shirt is washed, it loses its shine and elasticity,” said Kalonga
Meanwhile, Bullets vice-general secretary Kelvin Moyo also disclosed that the club wrote a similar complaint to the sport kit company. He accused Nsejjere of not being transparent in the way they are handling the project.
“As a club, we are in the dark as to what is going on as there is no feedback from Nsejjere. The product has been sub-contracted to IntoSport who are selling the merchandise, but from what we understand, the product sales have stagnated. The whole deal is not working well,” said Moyo.
In response, Nsejjere said he will be sending into the country his marketing manager for Africa Nanfuka Aishah to discuss the matter with the two clubs.
Moyo has since hinted at pulling out of the deal.
“We are meeting as an executive to discuss the issue because as a club we are benefiting nothing. It is not on to stay in a deal that does not benefit you. We are completely sidelined in the way the deal is working and whenever we want information, we have to write e-mails to the US, yet the business is happening right here in the country,” said Moyo.
Somba-Banda said he is aware of the e-mails that were sent to Nsejjere regarding burning issues that the clubs raised.
“Mr. Nsejjere believes the issues are serious and must be tackled in person and not through e-mails. He is sending Aishah. She might be in the country on October 27. The clubs then will have an opportunity to discuss their grievances and reach a collective understanding,”said Somba-Banda.
But unlike the previous contracts where clubs were involved in the direct sale of merchandise, this time around Nsejjere will be responsible.
The arrangement is that clubs and Nsejjere will each get $2 on each jersey, which costs $12 (about K7 200). Each club got a consignment of 2 000 replica shirts.
The rest of the money on each jersey will go towards covering the cost of shipping and manufacturing.
In a related development, Somba-Banda said contrary to prevailing reports, Nsejjere have a contract with the Southern Region Football Association (SRFA).
He said the pact between (SRFA and Nsejjere) will soon officially launch the league. n