ZIFA on Monday insisted that it has enough shirts for the senior men’s team, rowing back from a post by its X account which suggested that the Warriors played without name tags against Rwanda and Nigeria because the shirts must be recycled and used for the next match when no players are guaranteed a call-up.
The Warriors played in green and yellow kits by German sportswear giant, PUMA, in the two 2026 World Cup qualifying group matches.
A Warriors fan calling himself Dr Arrow asked ZIFA on X: “ZIFA what’s so expensive in writing names of the players on the jerseys?”
In a post that triggered a massive backlash, ZIFA’s official X account responded: “For qualifying matches, having names on shirts means that they will no longer be usable if a certain player is not called up in the next match. You will see names at tournaments where it is mandatory to have them.”
“Like seriously? No swapping of jerseys with opponents?,” asked one fan.
Lawyer Jacqueline Sande weighed in: “What are you saying? Are these jerseys to be used interchangeably between players? At national team level? What is this?”
Lincoln Mutasa, the chairman of the ZIFA normalisation committee, told ZimLive that it was not true that the jerseys will be recycled.
He explained that ZIFA currently has no kit deal after their contract with UMBRO expired. He said they entered a temporary kit supply arrangement with PUMA while looking for a long-term kit sponsor.
“There were challenges in preparing for this tournament, especially given that we are returning from a two-year absence from international football,” Mutasa said referring to Zimbabwe’s ban by FIFA over political interference.
“We had players coming from all over the place, some with challenges with their passports and it was not clear who will turn up and who will wear what number until everyone was in one place,” Mutasa said.
“We have enough kit stocks from PUMA. For future matches when we are likely to have a steady pool of players, we should have no problems putting name tags.
“We are trying to move our football forward to meet current trends. For instance, we released a matchday programme for the Nigeria match on our website where we introduced fans to the players complete with their profiles.”
Zimbabwe will be in action again in the World Cup qualifiers during the international break from 3-11 June 2024 when they host Lesotho before travelling to play South Africa.
Zimbabwe currently has no stadium approved to host international matches and is likely to play its home fixture with Lesotho in South Africa.