Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has secured a new kit sponsor for the Flames, International Sports Apparel Design Institute (Isad), on a three-year deal.
The little-known sports apparel design firm is based in South Africa and is owned by former Bafana Bafana and Fulham midfielder Kagisho Dikgacio who runs it with Japanese investors.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said the development comes after the expiry of the contract with Umbro
“We have been on the market looking for a new kit sponsor. I would like to confirm that after careful search, we have identified Isad.
“We have had successful discussions on the kit and apparel sponsorship package, including merchandising of replica jerseys to the effect that a contract agreement has been signed. We intend to launch the new kit by April,” he said.
The FAM president said designs of the new kit and replicas have also been completed “and I have no doubt that most Malawians will find it appealing”.
He added: “So it’s a done deal. The Flames will don a new kit this year in Malawi colours. An order of the consignment is being processed, as we speak, for production to start in earnest in Japan.
“The fans must watch this space and look out for the new design.”
Asked how different the new deal will be compared to the others such as Adidas, Puma and Umbro which were a flop, Nyamilandu said: “We will produce both low and high spec replica jerseys targeting the masses as well as the up-market respectively, without compromising quality or security features of the jersey.
“It is a far much better deal and a significant improvement from past contracts.”
On the frequent change of kit sponsors, the FAM president said: “We have changed partners because of stringent terms and conditions on minimum contract volumes and pricing. The other main factor has also been flexibility with designs and restrictions on the number of colours. This has been a limiting factor to producing an ideal replica jersey.
“This has been a problem for most countries. Zambia and Zimbabwe have faced similar problems from the established brands and they have gone to emerging brands that offer tailor-made solutions to associations and clubs, same for Tanzania and Mozambique. That’s the trend now. Otherwise we will be short-changed and tied to contracts we cannot fulfil.”
He said FAM will be launching the jerseys and various sports wear such as caps, golf shirts in its own brand name called “Moto”.
Sports marketing consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao said FAM has made the right decision.
“That’s the route most African countries are now taking. As long as it’s affordable it’s fine and a good move.
“The established brands are too expensive for ordinary football-loving Malawians,” he said.
Rodrick Walesi, a Flames fan based in Manje, Blantyre said: “Hopefully the deal takes into consideration poor people like me to buy the replicas at affordable prices, unlike in the past when the prices were exorbitant.”