Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FC PLATINUM were left fuming when they were told that they could not wear their Kappa branded tracksuit bottoms during the Caf Champions League match against Al Ahly of Egypt.
It didn’t matter to the officials that the Cairo temperatures were well below 15 degrees and players needed to put on warm clothing, especially those on the bench. The club had to adhere to marketing rights and brand visibility dictates.
According to Caf, the Kappa logo font on the tracksuit bottoms was larger than the required sizes for teams’ sponsors logos.
“Their argument is that the logo will be more visible than Caf sponsors and as such we can’t wear our tracksuit bottoms because the logo would somehow overshadow the tournament sponsors’ logo. It’s not that we are wearing fake Kappa regalia, no, all those are original tracksuits,” said club chairman Evans Mthombeni.
It was not only FC Platinum who came face to face with the strict adherence and respect to tournament sponsors’ rights as some members of the media were also barred from entering the post-match press conference room wearing clothes that had visible brands that were not part of Caf sponsors.
Highlanders’ chairman Kenneth Mhlophe, who was the head of delegation, said they had learnt valuable lessons, which he hoped football authorities in Zimbabwe would adhere to, to be in line with the rest of the developing world.
“Sponsors need to be protected, there must not be ambush marketing of any sort and once we do that at home, we might attract more sponsors to the game and sport in particular because they (sponsors) will have the assurance that they shall be protected. Their territory will be respected and there won’t be any chancers who would ride on their sponsorship. What we have just been told that we can’t wear our tracksuits was a shock but the explanation makes sense,” said Mhlophe.
As a result of the ‘banning’ of their tracksuits bottoms, FC Platinum were forced to buy some blankets for the players on the bench to keep them warm during the match.