Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Umbro have begun negotiations for the United Kingdom-based sports gear manufacturer to continue being Malawi national team kit supplier.
Confirming the development ahead of the current three-year deal expiry on 31 March this year, FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said the success of the negotiations will depend on Umbro subscribing to the conditions which the association has set.
Some of them are that Umbro should lower the prices of the replica jerseys and that it should also be supplying FAM with other sports merchandise.
“We want to diversify rather than just relying on replica jersey sales. We want whichever dealer we engage to be producing caps, T-shirts, scarves and umbrellas among others. This, we believe, will broaden our income generation,” he said.
The replica jerseys have been selling at K15 500 but Matola said they are seeking to drop the prizes to between K8 000 and K10 000.
“Most of serious Flames fans do not have much disposable income to buy the replicas at K15 500. So we want any company we will engage to understand this challenge and be accommodative,” he said.
Meanwhile, Matola has stated that they will engage another manufacturer if they fail to reach a compromise with Umbro.
“While we are negotiating with Umbro, we are also looking at the possibility of engaging other manufacturers that can meet our conditions. The other option is to have our own tailor-made Flames brand,” he said.
The commercial and marketing director, however, said that the discussions with Umbro are going on well.
“Umbro seem to understand that Malawi is a small economy. They have promised to come up with their own proposals. We will look at them and decide on the way forward,” he said.
FAM signed the Umbro deal in 2014 which specified that the association should sell about 20 000 replicas but the association has only sold 5 000 pieces.
Marketing expert Chiku Kalilombe said the Umbro deal could prove profitable if an agreement is struck based on the conditions set by FAM.
“What should be expected though is that the quality will be low if the replicas are cheap. However, FAM should not do away with the expensive replicas because those that bought the 5 000 replicas want high quality products. The best way is to push for production of cheap and high quality replicas,” he said.