Samstag, 6. Februar 2016

Tanzania



Tanzania vs. Algeria (0:7) | WC 2018 qualifiers | 2015 in Algeria


I GOT A LEGIT TANZANIA SHIRT!!!
If you ever spent some hours browsing ebay for rare national team shirts you might now wonder why it took so long and why it is a "no name shirt" and not one of the many Adidas or "Skies" shirts around.
The answer is simple: All the shirts you constantly see on ebay are fakes. None of those shirts have ever been worn by the Taifa Stars and some clever businessman are just making money by simply buying a blue Adidas template and heatpressing a Tanzanian flag (or FA logo) on it. Even worse, "Skies" never equipped any team in the world and is a pure "knockoff" or, more friendly said, "supporters wear" company.
To avoid knock-offs, but also to make some extra money selling shirts and being able to sell them for a price locals can afford, the Tanzanian FA is now using custom-made "no name" shirts.
If you ask me, this is a totally legit and very desirable fact if it leads to shirt-suited fans in the stadium and cheap local retail prices and/or better availability.

However, one problem remains for the interested collector. The Tanzanian FA does not yet have a running webshop selling globally. Over the last year I have written numberless emails to the Tanzanian FA of which most probably just landed in the "spam filter box". So I thought I will start something new, which couldn't be older. I just printed out my friendly letter, asking for assistance to get an official shirt, and sent it straight to Tanzania by "snail mail".
A few weeks later I got an email from Dar Es Salaam, where my mail was given to the right person. The merchandising director got in touch with me digitally and after some days of chatting on WhatsApp he agreed to send me a free shirt for my collection as a gift of TFF.
This, to me, is absolutely amazing as I think I am one of a very few collectors that now got a Tanzania shirt, which is not a knock-off of some kind. I got the real deal and I got it straight from the amazing guys of the Tanzanian FA!
After 4 weeks waiting for my parcel I hold this "no name"-beauty in my hand now! Thank you TFF! Thank you Taifa Stars!

Slovakia



Marek Hamsik (Napoli | ITA)
Slovakia vs. Ireland (0:0) | Euro 2012 qualifiers | 2011 in Ireland
Time to tick off my last real "open spot" in UEFA! The only one I am missing now is the Netherlands, and as regular readers will know, this is by purpose and will stay like it is until the very end.
However, I always wanted a Slovakia shirt, but somehow could never find any for a decent price and wasn't really willing to pay 70€ or more on ebay. Well, now I just had to get one to advance and splashed out 60€ including shipping (from the USA) for this quite simply designed shirt.
So, one step more taken, woohoo!

Russia 2



Viktor Fayzulin (Zenit)
Russia vs. Sweden (1:1) | Euro 2016 qualifier | 2015 in Sweden
Thanks again go to Kris, my German collector friend from Frankfurt. He gave me this very current Russia shirt as a gift when I visited him last month! Thanks Kris, I love that design a lot and it is even better than my old Russia shirt.
I also want to thank the Russian FA in those lines for the fact that they are one of the very last teams that is able to force Adidas to make a great shirt design!


Mauritania 2



Another shirt that has a strange story behind it. This Mauritania shirt was offered in shops in Noukchott and definitely comes straight from the FA. However, they failed to sell it out and returned some of their shirts to the maker, Adidas. Adidas again saw only one chance to get rid off those pieces of polyester and put them in their outlet shop for a bargain price.
There it was purchased by a fellow collector, who sold it to me again for as little as 25€, shipping included already.
I am not sure if Mauritania ever used this shirt in any official match, but as it is a design that was advertised and sold by the Mauritanian FA it is as "good as it can get" currently and, together with the other Mauritania shirt I have, I can finally definitely consider Mauritania as "done"!

Malta 4



I absolutely fell in love with this shirt, even though it brought me close to bancruptcy. Actually I was totally out of money, when I got a notice from ebay that I have won an auction that I totally forgot. I just bid the minimum and somehow won that shirt for as little as 40€ including shipping, which is more than fair for a matchworn shirt with a design that was only ever worn in a single match!
Unfortunately I could not find a picture of the shirt in use and the auction was too long ago to still "steal it" there. Can anyone help?

Macedonia 7



Unknown player
Macedonia vs. Scotland (1:0) | friendly 2008 in Macedonia

First of all I want to thank my mate Josip from Croatia again for this fantastic shirt! It is at least match issued and was given to him directly from the player, the former Croatian national team player Arijan Ademi, who decided to switch to represent Macedonia internationally.
However, the design is from 2008, long before Ademi "got Macedonian" in footballing terms. That is a bit bizarre, but I am sure that the shirt is legit as I have seen a picture where it is handed over by Ademi to my friend. I also had the same shirt before and comparison confirmed that this is the match version of it.
Unfortunately, after 3 matches for Croatia and 3 matches for Macedonia Ademi did finish his career unintentionally now after he was banned for 4 years for abusing doping.

Liechtenstein 2



Martin Büchel (FC Oberföhring | GER)
Liechtenstein vs. Switzerland (0:3) | friendly 2015 in Switzerland
 First of all a huge Thank you goes out to my Croatian mate Josip for this cracking matchworn shirt! I am not overly enthusiastic about Liechtenstein, which has damn boring shirts, but still ask the highest price of all FA shops I have seen (and I have seen a lot for obvious reasons. However, it is a pleasure to get this matchworn shirt and just "tick off" another country in my hidden "matchworn count" ;)
Besides that this shirt comes with a great story, which is even depicted in the above picture! As more match pics you look to from the more bizarre national teams, as more strange things you will come across. I saw fakes being worn in official matches, I saw numbers painted with edding, I saw keepers that wore the shirt of another nation and I have seen teams that embroider their FA logo in different places on every single shirt. However, unsurprisingly, those things mostly happen in Oceania, the Caribbean or the small African nations.
But this time Europe strikes back! While Liechtenstein is the wealthiest country in the world it seems that buying shirts is even too expensive to them (maybe because of the asking prices of their damn shop!?).
So, when they have a useless friendly against neighboring Switzerland, they just bring some shirts they could find in their garage to kick the ball around. At least it looks like that if you look to the above picture. The player on the right still has qualifier patches on the shirt (even though this is isn't a qualifier), while Martin Büchel from the German 5th Division club Oberföhring just wears a "blank shoulder" without any patches.
Looking to more pictures of the same match it seems like the distribution of "blank" and "patch" was somewhere between 40/60 and 50/50.
Of course, as a collector, I have to love it.
From a common sense point of view I have to hate it and propose the Liechtensteinian FA a simple solution: Make your shirts affordable, for everyone!

Costa Rica



Paulo Wanchope (CS Herediano)
Costa Rica vs. Germany (2:4) | WC 2006 in Germany
This Costa Rica shirt is surely the last "easy" gap for me to fill in the CONCACAF region and there was a reason why I never got a Ticos shirt, even though I am a huge fan of the team!
Fellow collector Kris from Germany owed me a Costa Rica shirt since one of our first meetings. At that time it was for sale everywhere and easily available. However, as the Ticos played a magnicient World Cup in Brazil 2014 the shirt was quickly sold out and got quite expensive. Thus, Kris struggled to get hold of that shirt for me for a fair price.
Now he finally found one and purchased it for me.
The shirt has one of the more special designs and in my eyes the Spanish brand Joma did quite an amazing job 2006! Unfortunately today Costa Rica is with New Balance, who gave them the most boring design in their kit history.

Montag, 1. Februar 2016

Timor-Leste 2



José Carlos da Fonseca (Dili Institute of Technology)
Timor-Leste vs. UAE 0:1 | World Cup 2018 qualifier | 2015 in UAE
Here it is, one of the favorite shirts of my whole collection. Like all the grands in my collection it came directly from the player, namely José Carlos da Fonseca.
I tried to contact José when I found out that he played professional in Thailand as I thought that he must speak English then. And indeed, he speaks fluent English, actually better than I do.
I had hours and hours of chat with José and really found a new friend in one the small little paradise called Timor-Leste on the other side of the world with him! As sending money to Timor-Leste costs hefty fees we agreed to do a swap. I got a Germany shirt for him with the print of his favorite player, Mats Hummels, and received this amazing flag-style shirt of him.
It is the shirt he wore far abroad in the United Arab Emirates, where Timor-Leste only lost 0:1 against one of the favorites in their group.
Funny enough both shirts did not wear World Cup qualifiers, even though it was the second official group match for the 2018 World Cup. Probably the delivery to the UAE was a bit delayed or something like that.

I again thank José for this absolutely amazing shirt and hope that he will receive loads of great new shirts for his own collection in the future!

San Marino



Andrea (Andy) Selva (La Fiorita)
San Marino vs. England (0:5) | Euro 2016 qualifier | 2014 in England
I am absolutely over the moon with this absolutely amazing shirt! It is another step in the mission, as it is my first San Marino shirt. It is a matchworn shirt and not only that: It was worn by a true legend!
As you can see in the picture above the number 10 of San Marino is Andy Selva, the biggest legend in San Marinos national team and of Europes most capped national team players still active. He got famous for scoring the 1-0 goal in a friendly vs. Liechtenstein in 2004, which was the only win San Marino ever had.
Unfortunately Andy was less fortunate in Wembley, when his team got beaten 5-0 by England in the last recent Euro qualifiers.
I owe loads of thanks to the seller, who I will keep anonoymous on his own will. A classic shirt I am absolutely pleased with and which was truely worth every penny of the 120€ I paid!

Georgia 2



Croatia vs. Georgia (1:0) | U21 Euro 2017 qualifiers | 2015 in Croatia
I am always especially eager to get matchworn shirt of countries that I visited in person for obvious reasons. I somehow feel "connected" to such countries and thus put in an extra effort to get a special piece of history of those nations.
Actually this is working quite good most of the time. From the countries I visited in recent years I do have matchworn shirts from Macedonia (multiple ones), Romania, Canada, County of Nice, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh. A matchworn Armenia shirt is on my way currently. However, a Georgia one was missing and I do not have any good contacts there, so I had to buy it in the end.
For the 100€ I had to invest to get this straight from Croatia I got a very unique shirt then. A matchworn Georgia shirt (Under-21, though), which was only ever used in a single match, the depicted Under-21 Euro qualifier match in Croatia.
As Georgia usually wears red or white they just had to take their third shirt, when they met the chess-style red/white dressed Croatians.

Valencia



Finally I was able to get another Spanish regional shirt. It is from the Valencia Country and came straight from Valencia, purchased through the app "Wallapop", which is mainly popular in Spain.
I am not sure when this shirt was worn and was not able to find any picture of it in use, but I guess it is a worn shirt of one of the youth teams that finally play inter-regional cups in Spain.
The most impressive detail of this shirt, which made me pay 40€ for it in the end was the manufacturer, which is "Romario". I am not sure if there is any connection to the world famous Brazilian footballer, but as we all know "Daei Sport" did equip Iran for ages, so it is not impossible at least.

Macedonia 5



Petar Milosevski (Malatyaspor | Turkey)
or Gogo Jovcev (Vardar Skopje)
Macedonia national team 1998-2001
Yes, I know. I have a Macedonia shirt already. No, I have 5 national team shirts. I know. But did you see that badge? And this amazing neon green stripe? I did! So I had to grab that shirt!
The shirt was worn by the Macedonia keeper in the 1998-2001 period. I am not sure which keeper is picture above, but I am hoping it is the guy named Gogo! ;)
Thanks again to Jens for this great shirt!


Japan 3



Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow | Russia)
Japan vs. Costa Rica (3:1) | friendly 2014 in USA
All the thanks for this cracking designed shirt go to my mate Jens from Germany. It is the design Japan only wore on a very rare occassions in 2014, mainly in friendlies before the World Cup in Brazil (like on the picture above).
Even though I already have 2 Japan shirts I couldn't resist to swap this one with a club shirt I had left. The lime green neon shining shirt is ridicolous enough to win his place in the hall of fame of crazy shirts, even though mine has, unfortunately, the rather boring blue numbering and not the far more spectacular pink numbering they used in a few matches.
Thanks again to Jens!