With a passion for the game of football, an unassuming young man born and bred in Ghana’s capital city of Accra has blended his marketing background to live his long held dream of helping project the game of football.
Now, 30-year-old Abdul Rashid Zakari is dreaming on after his local breakthrough. He tells Africanews that with the baby steps of yesteryear out of the way, it is time to set out and conquer the continent despite the main challenge of funding which his team sees more as a launch pad than a stumbling block.
He is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mayniak Sportswear, a new-age African sports brand based in Accra. He says he had to laugh off how people thought of him as a ‘maniac’ for attempting to step into a field supposedly far beyond him.
We have just taken off with our first deal, the buzz and reception has been phenomenal, the Mayniaks team remains grounded but with absolute focus on spreading our wings far and wide, we dream on.
‘We have just taken off with our first deal, the buzz and reception has been phenomenal, the Mayniaks team remains grounded but with absolute focus on spreading our wings far and wide, we dream on,’ he says.
That first deal is with a local club, Accra-based Liberty professionals, Mayniak are the kit providers for the Premier League club as the new football league gets underway in February 2017.
The two parties recently held a well-publicized event to outdoor the home and away kits of Liberty. Since then, Ghana’s social media space has been reacting to the event and Mayniak CEO says it loops into the vim and verve that spurs them on.
In an interview with Africanews, Rashid gave us more insights into his field of interest.
WHO IS ABDUL RASHID ZAKARI?
Abdul Rashid Zakari is a sport marketing personnel born and raised in Nima- a suburb of Accra, Ghana. I am an alumnus of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM-UK) and the Sports Business Institute of Barcelona.
WHY AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO SPORTS MARKETING?
Like the average Ghanaian boy, the love of sports i.e. football kicks off perhaps from birth (laughs) but I started out in the field of advertising and communications, worked with a few local firms here and there before launching full time into the marketing of sports.
The basic intent of moving into that arena was to help African football clubs grow to become commercially viable and financially stable. Sport is business now and Africa has not made considerable growth in that aspect.
WHEN DID MAYNIAK START OPERATIONS?
Mayniak Sportswear started 2 years ago, after working on a fruitless project of securing a sportswear brand to kit one of the biggest clubs in Ghana. The team decided to offer a local option and cater for the gear needs of African clubs – of course starting at home.
WHAT MAKES MAYNIAK PRODUCTS STAND OUT?
Our products are specifically meant for the African market. Which is quite different from the fabrics other brands use in making kits for the African weather. We also put offers on the table and plan with respective clients from the word go. With that, output is always mutual.
WHAT GOES INTO PLANNING A TYPICAL SPORTSWEAR?
In producing kits, loads of creative juices are assembled. Jersey designs have to represent something unique about a club, among others its history, stature and associated brands. So basically, we dig into the club’s past in order to present it with a pleasant present.
ANY PLANS TO GO INTERNATIONAL?
With Ghana sorted and as we seek to further consolidate gains at home, other African markets are showing interest in our project. We have plans of going outside Ghana latest by the third quarter of 2017.
Once we nail that – that is serving our immediate aim of satisfying the needs of African football clubs, we will aim and shoot at other continents. The main priority of Mayniak if I may reiterate, is to address the needs of African sports clubs.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT THIS FAR?
Our biggest achievement so far has been our maiden kit for Liberty Professional football club. A local achievement we are bent on building upon. It was a well taken ‘penalty kick,’ that has earned us qualification to the ‘next round,’ so we play on.
DOES SPORTS MARKETING HAVE A FUTURE IN AFRICA?
Sports marketing does have a future but before that we need to have people who understand that sports is no more just a physical activity but a business
We want African sporting institutions to know we have gone LIVE and looking forward to creating magic and working with all of them. For us it is not about going solo but also about linking up with others to serve the collective interest of commercializing sports.