By Sibongumusa Dhlodhlo
AMBITIOUS Bulawayo-based Premier Soccer League side, Bulawayo Chiefs have broken new ground after becoming the first local team to set up an online merchandise shop.
This comes at a time when most local football clubs which rely on gate takings are struggling financially owing to inactivity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bulawayo Chiefs have ventured into uncharted waters.
Chiefs, who are referred to as local football’s Twitter Kings due to their huge social media following, launched the online shop on Tuesday.
Affectionately known as Amakhosi Amahle, Chiefs have become the first local team to set up an online shop to sell its merchandise, with club spokesperson Thulani ‘Javas’ Sibanda saying it is a dream come true.
“For us, this has been part of our dream to make sure that we become a total football team where we can be able to provide merchandise to all our fans, followers, sympathisers or anyone who is a sports lover in general across the globe. So that has been the major prompt in terms of setting up this shop so that we can have our merchandise all over the country and the world,” he said.
The clubs’ merchandise on offer includes tracksuits, sweaters, hats, masks, socks, shorts, T-shirts and official replicas.
Sibanda revealed that his club is not going back on the use of digital platforms.
“We take them very seriously as we can see that the world is getting digitalised so we are following the trends. We need to reach out to everyone across the globe and the only way we can do that is to use these platforms. We are determined because we know that through these platforms, the Bulawayo Chiefs brand can fly from Bulawayo to greater parts of the world in seconds. That is the only way we can make people know about us, our football and our brand,” he added.
Despite not commanding a huge support base, Chiefs showed innovation when it became the first club to have its Twitter handle verified as an account of public interest two years ago, something big clubs have failed to achieve.