AFCON 2022: The Battle Of The Kits!
The African Cup of Nations is already heading to the business end of the competition with many countries already knocked out of the tournament.
Asides from the amazing football and jaw-dropping goals the tournament has delivered to football lovers, the tournament has also given us something else- beautiful home and away kits.
AFCON always delivers when it comes to well-designed and eye-popping national team kits, and this year’s tournament is no different. Teams across the continent, from powerful Nigeria and Ivory Coast to newcomers Comoros, have come wearing their national pride on their sleeves, literally and figuratively. From bold designs to classic calls, this year’s competition is full of colour, flash, and flair.
With bright colours and bold shapes proudly displaying the identity of the teams and countries wearing them, AFCON is unlike any other international competition in many ways, including shirt design.
There is a great array of creativity on display, with Nike and Adidas not being the two dominant forces among the kit manufacturers. There are a whopping 17 different brands manufacturing kits for the 24 participants, with Puma the most common sponsor at five teams. With different brands on show, there are some classics from big players like PUMA and Nike but also new gems from Ireland’s Masita, France’s Airness and Italy’s Macron.
We have ranked the kits that we love the most and each country is listed with its official kit-maker:
Cape Verde (Tempo Sport)
The Austrian kit manufacturer did well for the Blue Sharks. Two darker blue stripes down the middle, with the lighter blue background helping them pop. Wave designs cover the kit, and a neat-looking shark peeks out from the bottom-left of the shirt.
The Irish kit-maker was inspired by the country’s mascot, the National Elephants, sporting light tusks and an imprint of an elephant silhouette on the jersey, behind tribal designs. Also notable are the shorts, yellow with red stripes down the sides featuring similar designs.
Guinea-Bissau made themselves and Africa proud by partnering with a local kit-maker and it paid off big time. They have four different kits to play with and their away kit is a beautiful nod to the traditional handmade fabrics of the country.
While the Pharaohs’ kits are safe and clean, they do pop nicely and the black across the shoulders pair nicely with the deep red of the kit. There’s also a very subtle design within the red, a faint pattern resembling hieroglyphics.
Sierra Leone (Umbro)
This country’s kit is one of the fan favourites and the home kit they wore in the opening match is a great shade of green, broken up by a classy blue blotch design down the bottom left. The white away kit has a cleaner look with the flag under the collar. They have three kits in all.
Ivory Coast (Puma)
It’s almost Puma’s best kit at the tournament but just doesn’t top Ghana, also by Puma. Ivory Coast has had some classy designs in the past, and this fits right in. The broken vertical stripes are a great look, and it’s even better in the orange home kit.
That Mali Eagle design is beautiful. Central on the breastbone, the eagle is supported by green, yellow, and red stripes that look like the eagle’s wings and reflect the country’s colours. The away kit is similar, with just the green background changed to white.
At first glance, the Gabon home kit from Kappa looks like Brazil’s official kit, but closer inspection reveals that striking sublimated panther, symbolising the nation’s nickname. Its beauty is in its simplicity.
“The Coelacanths” (a now-rare order of fish) are appearing at AFCON for the first time, and they’ve been given a fittingly beautiful shirt by Macron.
This kit is bold and spectacular. A yellow background with red, orange, green, and black tears down the chest starting from the shoulder. The colours reflect the nation’s flag, and they are flashy without being overwhelming. The yellow shorts and socks continue the look, with the shorts sporting green numbers that pop but don’t take away from the work done by the shirt. The away and third kits aren’t nearly as brilliant but the home one stands out above all the rest.
While Ghana might have crashed out of the tournament, they come in second place in the battle of the kits. With a checkered design of pinstripes and faint stars underneath the centralized black star in the middle, the green numbers and Puma logo pop nicely. The home kit is even better, with a yellow background instead of the away kit’s white that really does leap off the shirt, and black sleeves that compliment nicely.
It’s no surprise that Nigeria is coming in at first place in the battle of the kits. Having topped their group already, they also top the kits parade, as the nation’s home kit is an absolute stunner. While some have argued that it’s a little too similar to the iconic 2018 kit that broke the Internet, the beautiful traditional design done in a vertical tooth pattern with a white middle is both bold and energetic and leaps into our first place for its stark beauty and pizzazz.