Fans of Zimbabwe’s national football team are reportedly displeased with the proposed design of their kit for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
Zimbabwe’s Warriors traditionally turn out in a gold and green home kit but ZIFA’s contracted kit supplier, Umbro, have added vertical red stripes to the design making the jersey resemble a Barcelona away kit.
The kit is only set to be officially launched at an event on 16 May but images of the jerseys have leaked online and fans are not happy.
The new colour scheme is meant to reflect that of the Zimbabwe flag while respecting the traditional gold but football supporters are notoriously critical of departures from tradition in kit design.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association and Umbro today announced the consummation of their long-term partnership as the parties continue their preparations for the upcoming Total Africa Cup of Nations finals,” Zifa said in a statement.
“The Warriors begin their campaign against Egypt in the prestigious opening match on 21 June, 2019, and will wear the Umbro-designed kit, which incorporates the most advanced lightweight performance fabrics designed for movement and breathability.
“The parties also confirmed the plans for the official kit launch which will be held on the 16th of May in Harare at a retail partner to be announced.
“Replica jerseys and supporters’ apparel will also be available for purchase on the day.
“The Warriors home kit was inspired by Zimbabwe’s traditional yellow jersey with an added modern twist, using a mix of solid and gradient red vertical stripes.
“This clean and contemporary design ensures the home jersey will be a fan favourite. The away kit was inspired by the traditional colours of the Zimbabwean national flag.
“The use of solid green for the jersey, yellow for the shorts, and red for the socks incorporates the colours of the flag in simple yet classic design features.
“Umbro has committed to partnering with major local retailers to distribute replica products and supporters gear to ensure that fans can participate in the growth and performance of the National Team as they take part in Africa’s premier tournament.”
Fan’s main complaint appears to be that the designers have departed from the traditional elements that comprise a Zimbabwe kit. Some are irked that the design resembles the jerseys worn by Ghana.
One fan wrote on social media: “None will buy that Ghana like thing! Why are you forcing that ugly thing on our warriors?”
Another supporter said it was not uncommon for Zimbabwe fans to turn up to games wearing the kit of neighbouring South Africa’s national team Bafana Bafana.
“They forget that fans have to pay to buy the replicas. We will not buy mudhosvo. As it is, some fans have been wearing Bafana Bafana replicas to Warriors matches due to poor kits from Zifa,” a post read.
The 2019 AFCON tournament proper will be Zimbabwe’s fourth finals, the Warriors have never made it out of the group stages.