Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS have reportedly dumped their technical sponsor Roar and settled for a top sports apparel Umbro.
The Roar kit, which many Bosso supporters publicly expressed dissatisfaction over, is co-owned by one of the Caps United directors Nhamo Tutisani and others with links to the Green Machine.
The decision to part ways with Roar comes at a time Bosso were recently dealt a body blow following the withdrawal of principal sponsors NetOne, who cut short their deal with a year of the three-year agreement remaining.
NetOne indicated that it was ceasing all sports sponsorship to concentrate on the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic that brought the world to a virtual standstill.
Under the sponsorship deal, NetOne was responsible for paying salaries of Highlanders’ first team players and technical staff as well as footing the accommodation bill for the team’s away matches.
Sources close to Bosso told Chronicle Sport that Umbro will now be the club’s technical sponsors, becoming the second international sportswear company to partner with the Bulawayo club after Adidas.
Adidas had a memorandum of understanding with financial institution BancABC, who were then Highlanders’ principal sponsors.
The Roar deal has always been mired in controversy, with fans failing to access replica jerseys, which resulted in a proliferation of counterfeit jerseys prejudicing Bosso of possible significant revenue.
“At the moment the deal is not yet ready for public consumption, but it’s just a matter of time. All the logistics have been done, including design, which came from the club, unlike in the previous arrangement whereby Highlanders had no input. However, what is certain is that Roar is no longer part of Highlanders,” said the source.
Chronicle Sport was told that Umbro is set to supply the replica jerseys to Bosso and recoup its costs over a given period of time through sale of the merchandise.
Properly marketed and designed, the merchandise has the potential of being a money spinner for Bosso, who boast a huge loyal following in locally and in neighbouring South Africa where hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are resident.
Bosso fans have had to endure donning counterfeit jerseys over the last two seasons due to the unavailability of Roar replicas.
Those not content with counterfeits resorted to old replicas, particularly the 90th anniversary special jersey, or anything black and white, including South African giants Orlando Pirates replica jerseys that are also black and white.
Bosso fans will also be pleased that the club was given the leeway input on the design, which will properly capture the club’s true identity and tradition.