After 23 years, Kaizer Chiefs and Nike part ways

Kaizer Chiefs and Italian sportswear powerhouse Kappa have reawakened their legendary partnership that helped revolutionize South African football in the early 1990s. As part of a historic agreement, Kappa will once again serve as Chiefs’ official technical sponsor and licensing partner beginning in the 2023–24 season for an initial period of five years. The deal to rejoin two of the top football brands was inked today in Italy, reigniting a bond that was first established in 1989 and lasted for seven trophies-filled years and an unforgettable voyage in football fashion.

Chiefs first sported the fashionable Italian label in 1989, beginning their association with Kappa. The two brands developed a strong and illustrious tradition during the collaboration, which lasted until 1996. During this time, Chiefs amassed numerous awards and rose to prominence in the world of football style. The Kappa brand expanded significantly in South Africa and its neighboring countries as a result of this union.

“We are excited to team up with Kappa once again, a brand with which Kaizer Chiefs set new records and established itself as a trendsetter in African football in the early 1990s. Kappa, like Kaizer Chiefs, is a unique brand of style and class and one of the key players in the global football kit space. Kappa has had great partnerships with some of the world’s leading football clubs, as well as a number of local teams over the years. This deal is not only an acknowledgment of our past but also an exciting leap into the future for the club,” says Kaizer Chiefs Marketing and Commercial Director, Jessica Motaung, who is in Italy this week to finalise and conclude the relationship.

Michael Joseph, CEO of Kappa South Africa says: “The signing of this partnership with Kaizer Chiefs has been a target of our company since we reignited the Kappa Brand in South Africa in 2010. This partnership is in perfect alignment with our ambition and continuous goals to continue to make Kappa the largest sports brand in Africa. We are thrilled to be once again partnering with a Club like Kaizer Chiefs whose passion and drive in all aspects, match that of our brand. Not only are they an ambitious Club, with a strong identity and uniqueness of elegance and excellence, but their fans are their priority. Kappa together with Kaizer Chiefs, are going to reinstall the romance of the 90s and deliver something extraordinary to these fans. Our common glorious past must be a strength for the future of our partnership and we are really excited to unveil our products to the club’s players and supporters in the coming seasons. Our commitment to the Club is to deliver not only to itself but to its fans the most beautiful attire and product seen to date.”

Great athletes like Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, Fani Madida, Gary Bailey, Isaac “Shakes” Kungwane, Marks Maponyane, Neil Tovey, Donald “Ace” Khuse, and many other ex-players proudly wore the Kappa shirt and won nearly every trophy available from the late 1980s to 1996. Since Kappa sponsored Chiefs’ uniforms throughout those illustrious years, the club became known for their iconic “Omini”-stamped jerseys. After the longest kit collaboration in the Club’s history, 23 years Chiefs and Nike will no longer be working together at the end of the 2022–2023 season.

“It’s important to thank Nike for the partnership since 2000. It’s uncommon for partnerships to last for over 20 years, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have enjoyed a relationship with one of the world’s leading sports brands,” says Motaung.

The Kaizer Chiefs Youth Academy Development Teams and the Senior Team will all get kit and accessory products from Kappa under the conditions of the new contract. In addition, Kappa will be granted the right to produce and market goods bearing the Chiefs and Kappa trademarks in South Africa, across Africa, and beyond. The most well-liked and productive sports team in South Africa is called Chiefs. Amakhosi has a rich 53-year history and a fan base of approximately 20 million people. The team has won 76 official trophies throughout that time.

“We believe that the reignited partnership with Kappa will introduce and bring about new technical product innovation and exciting designs for our teams and supporters. We are looking forward to this new journey with our long-time friends, Kappa, as they embark on reclaiming their position and dominance in the South African football and sports market,” concludes Motaung.

Former chiefs striker shares Amakhosi Kappa memories

Former striker Wedson Nyirenda revealed his recollections of wearing the legendary Amakhosi shirt as Kaizer Chiefs get ready to restore their relationship with Kappa. Nyirenda played for Chiefs from 1993 to 1995 after switching from the six-time champion Power Dynaos of Zambia, who were based in Kitwe. Ex-Baroka and Zambia coach Nyirenda was overjoyed to learn that Kappa will be returning to the Chiefs’ jersey.

I love Kaizer Chiefs, and the first thing that always accompanies my memories is the Kappa brand and the exploits we did at that time were glorious” Nyirende said. “When I saw Madam Jessica Motaung signing for that brand, my heart jumped, and I remember the great men of soccer in South Africa I played with and against, Talk of Kaizer ChiefsDoctor Khumalo, Captain Neil Tovey,Nick Shaw,Lucus Radebe,Dick Hamukola,Maringa,Nstie Maphike,Rudolf Siale,Trevor Mthimkhulu,Wellington Manyathi and Young Lawrence Mooki,and afcause facing our (Orlando Pirates)rivals Mark Fish,Gavin Lane,Innoccent Buthelezi,John Moeti etc”

While Nyirenda was at Amakhosi, Chiefs won 11 trophies under the Kappa brand between 1998 and 1996, including four league titles. Nyirenda did, however, win two silverwares, along with the 1994 BP Top 8 trophy and a runners-up finish in the same competition in 1995. Nyirendas second victory came at the 1994 Iwisa Spectacular, and he made it to the 1995 Bob Save semifinals.“Many great memories come. You can imagine that I still have the black Kaizer  Chiefs Kappa tracksuit. Except I have given out most playing kit and some just Stolen” said  Nyirenda

Why Kaizer Chiefs chose Kappa

In their decision to partner once again with the Italian sportswear company, Chiefs ultimately went with Kappa. Although Castore and Company were reportedly in talks with Kaizer Chiefs, Motaung declined to identify the other companies competing for the agreement. “We’re very fortunate to have a very strong brand that attracts many sponsors and in the kit space we were fortunate to speak to a number of sponsors who were interested,” Motaung said on Metro FM Sports. Obviously we made sure we negotiated with a partner we felt best fitted and that understands where we’re going. But certainly I must say thank you to all the partners and we know them who wanted to speak to us and partner with us but we needed to choose a partner we felt was the best fit,” she added.

Kaizer Chiefs’ decision to switch back to the brand that supplied the team in the early 1990s was significantly influenced by Kappa’s solid football history. It was undoubtedly beneficial that Kappa had a well-established distribution network in South Africa. When Kaizer Chiefs and Nike were unable to come to an agreement, they decided to part ways with the venerable American company. It was also said that Puma was a potential supplier for Kaizer Chiefs.

“Kappa, like Kaizer Chiefs, is a unique brand of style and class and one of the key players in the global football kit space,Kappa has had great partnerships with some of the world’s leading football clubs, as well as a number of local teams over the years. This deal is not only an acknowledgment of our past but also an exciting leap into the future for the club.” Kappa, like Kaizer Chiefs, is a unique brand of style and class and one of the key players in the global football kit space,” Motaung said at the announcement.

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