The Flames new Moto replicas’ first consignment is only expected in the country almost the same time the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals will be kicking off in Cameroon.
The development means Malawi National Football Team fans will not access the replicas in time for the continental showpiece.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) marketing and commercial director Limbani Matola attributed the delay to logistical challenges arising from effects of Covid-19.
He said: “We expect the first consignment within the next 25 to 30 days from Thailand and Vietnam.
“The initial arrangement was to have the consignment shipped, but we are now planning on having them transported by air.
“Admittedly, we have delayed because we faced logistical challenges due to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic such as lockdowns which lasted for three to four weeks, thereby affecting production and there was no movement.
“It was something beyond our control.”
Matola said the decision to transport them by air will ensure that there is a turnaround.
Nevertheless, he played down suggestions that the situation could affect sales of the replicas.
Matola said: “Looking at the quality of the material, we are optimistic that Malawians will still patronise the replicas because they are looking for an apparel that they can identify with their country.
“We have no doubt that they will support their team more so that it coincides with their team’s qualification for Afcon after 11 years.”
He also said apart from replica jerseys, for a change the consignment includes caps, track-suits, shoes and slip-ons.
“It is a huge consignment driven by market demand because we received a lot of enquiries for other materials other than replica jerseys,” said Matola.
He also said they are looking at categorising the replicas in accordance to fabric quality and texture.
Matola said just like the previous kit, the home jersey is predominantly red while the away kit is dominated by black.
He said: “We also have an alternative kit dominated by green. In a nutshell, the uniforms have the national colours.”
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu expressed optimism that the new kit will be on the market end December.
He said: “We have taken advantage of our Afcon qualification to launch the new kit.
“The design is based on a unique traditional design that is appealing as we showcase pride for the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi and its rich culture.”
But football marketing consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao said FAM has missed out on maximising revenue from the replicas.
He said: “Pre-tournment sales are key, especially when you consider that in December people have extra money and with the qualification hype, it would have boosted the sales unlike January which is a very difficult month.
“But having said that, if the replicas can be shipped in before the tournament starts, they can salvage something.”
The new Flames jersey was unveiled on Saturday by President Lazarus Chakwera during the Kuipatsa Moto Flames VVIP Fundraising Dinner at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.