With the 2019 Africa Cup Of Nations getting underway in June, the Zimbabwe Football Association and their kit partner Umbro finally put an end to the speculation that was rife among Zimbabweans. The kit however did not meet the expectations of the people.
A number were disappointed in the lack-luster design, others in the color selection and even more wondered why we had used an international kit partner for such a basic and uninspiring kit when there were local designers who had come up with better designs.
National football kits across the world have a consistent theme through the years that is not only directed by the football associations but also standardized and coordinated at a national level with other sporting codes. There must be consistency and identity year after year beyond simply colours. The identity of the nation must reflect in the kit that is worn by the athletes representing the country on an international stage.
So why is this not the case in Zimbabwe? Why do we have completely different kits year after year in different sporting codes? Because we do not have a clearly defined national brand direction. There has been very limited effort in creating and maintaining a brand guide for the nation as a whole. If this was the case, there would have been more design direction for a kit partner like Umbro and Zimbabweans would be falling over each other to buy the replica jerseys.
The country needs a brand manual that is reflective of our history, encapsulates our vision, and through a vivid colour palette demonstrates who we are as a people.