Watching Harambee Stars beat Swaziland 2-0 at the ongoing Cosafa Cup in Zambia, reminded me of a story I read before the semifinal between hosts Brazil and Uruguay at the just concluded Confederations Cup.
It so happens that after Brazil’s devastating 2-1 loss to Uruguay in the final of the 1950 World Cup on the hallowed ground of Maracana, a competition was launched by Rio newspaper Correio da Manha to redesign the uninspiring white strip that Brazilian players wore on that fateful day.
The winning entry, submitted by 19-year-old illustrator Aldyr Garcia Schlee, combined the yellow, green and blue of the Brazilian flag. Successive generations of the Selecao, including the current Neymar-inspired squad, have worn this uniform ever since.
Back to Kenya versus Swaziland. This was Kenya’s first win in a competitive match since December 2012, never mind the fact that atleast five of the players in the starting eleven were playing their third straight match in as many days, without mentioning the many hours of travel by air and road.
Given that this was Adel Amrouche’s first victory at the fifth attempt as Harambee Stars coach, the team had every reason to celebrate.
Big deal! The only blemish in the otherwise impressive performance was that yet again the Kenyan team showed up in some nondescript kit bereft of a designer’s label. A very small detail but one worthy of note all the same.
Unlike the national sevens team that looked resplendent in their Samurai kit at the just concluded Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Harambee Stars handlers have no qualms in throwing ours boys on the pitch donning some indistinct apparel.
For the last few months, the team has been playing and training in Kelme branded kit but since that match against Nigeria in Calabar, the Kelme kit have suddenly run out of circulation.
From the look of things Kenyan football authorities are completely ignorant of how big the kitting and branding business is not just in football but in sports as a whole.
That explains why the trouble former Dortmund playmaker Mario Götze recently got into when he arrived at his presentation by his new club Bayern Munich in a Nike emblazoned t-shirt.
Adidas have a 9.1% stake in the Bavarian club, and part of their clause requires players to wear Adidas tops during official presentations.
For his troubles, Götze has been slapped with a hefty €10,000 (Sh 1.12 million) fine. That’s how serious kitting and branding is.