As desperation takes its toll to meet a July cut-off point, FAM has slashed the price of Flames Puma replica jerseys by almost 45 percent.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) commercial manager Casper Jangale on Thursday announced that the price for the replicas has been reduced from K9 000 (about $36) to K5 000 (about $20) between now and end of next month.
But Jangale insisted that the reduction is a promotional campaign aimed at drumming up support for the Flames ahead of next monthâ€™s 2014 World Cup and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“Those that will be coming to buy from here [at FAM offices] will be offered a wholesale price of K5 000 ($20) each while the retail price will be K6 000 ($24).
“This is a promotion and the price reduction is with immediate effect. It will run up to June 30. Thereafter, we will return to the normal price [of K9 000],” said Jangale during a press briefing at Chiwembe.
While it is clear that the association will not be able to meet its K18 million (about $72 000) profit target, Jangale claimed that FAM will not incur losses.
So far, FAM has sold just over 2 000 replicas, which translates to K18 million. They still have slightly over 8 000 jerseys in stock.
Should the association manage to sell all the remaining jerseys at K5 000, it will translate to K42.5 million (about $1.7m). And all together, it would come up to around K60.5 million (about $242 000).
However, Jangale could not be drawn to disclose how much the association invested in the business venture.
“We cannot disclose how much we invested because that is classified information, but we will not incur losses,” he stated.
The FAM commercial manager also denied suggestions that FAMâ€™s failure to sell even a quarter of the consignment was confirmation that the business venture was a flop.
“No! No! No! We have not failed. The fact is that we just want to give those people that had been complaining about the prices a chance to access the replicas and drum up support for the Flames ahead of next monthâ€™s crucial games.
“You also have to bear in mind that the kwacha has been devalued, but most people are still getting the old salaries.
“This was also the first time for FAM to engage in such type of business and we were, therefore, bound to face challenges.
“Another thing is that the business of replicas goes with the performance of the team and had we qualified for 2012 Africa Cup of Nations by beating Chad, we surely should have been singing a different tune now. So, there are a number of factors that come into play,” he said.
But veteran soccer commentator Moses Dossi said the development is clear testimony that FAM did not conduct a proper research before venturing into the replica jersey business.
“Itâ€™s good that they have realised that something went amiss, better late than never, but hopefully they have learnt something,” Dossi said.
A local Flames fan Chaona Mkandawire hailed FAM for reducing the price.
“It is good because most fans will now be able to access the jerseys. At least at K5 000 I can manage to get one other than the previous exorbitant price,” said Mkandawire.