Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Senegal 2

Keita Balde Diao (Lazio, ITA)
vs. Zimbabwe (2:0) | African Cup 2017 in Gabon 
Whenever an African Cup of Nations kicks off, Senegal is quickly thrown in as one of the favorites to lift the trophy. Whenever an African Cup of Nations is commencing, Senegal is quickly named as the biggest underperformer of the tournament. I am not sure, if it is the 0 trophies in the wardrobe or the impressive quarter-final performance of a World Cup now only 15 years ago, that makes them the bookmakers favorite whenever Africas best national teams meet, but they certainly are.
As everyone else, I love their 2002 surprise against France and the style of football they played, but come on, that was 15, in words FIFTEEN, years ago! Do you remember those days when Marco Bode played a World Cup for Germany? Me neither! That was the same year.

The last AFCON, Senegal finally had a superb shirt, though. This one, made by Romai, is probably one of the best shirts an African country ever sported, to be fair. I really owe Nick one for sorting this beauty out - thanks!

Just to complete the story: Senegal won vs. Tunisia (2:0), which was a great and impressive start. Sadio Mane, their top player, surely showed that he wants to lift a trophy! They continued by beating Zimbabwe (again 2:0), which was largely expected and finally drew with Algeria (2:2), who where among the other favorites. Thus, they made it through the group stages and faced Cameroon in the quarters, a huge minnow with rarely any top players. But, of course, this is Senegal! So, as nearly always, they were kicked out when it started to count, by penalties.
But I am sure that they will be the top favorites in 2019!

Qatar 2

Hussein Yasser El-Mohammadi Abdulrahman (Al Rayyan)
vs. Iraq (1:0) | Asian Games 2006 final in Qatar
There is not a helluva lot I could write about Qatar or this particular shirt, to be fair. It is matchworn and it is the dull Adidas design, which was followed by the dull Burrda design (Qatar-made, see Qatar 1) and then followed by the dull Nike designs. A shame they dropped their homemade Burrda brand, when they started to design proper shirts, as the Belgium one they did.

The player, Hussein Yasser El-Mohammadi Abdulrahman on my picture does not only have a very handy name, he also can write Manchester United and Manchester City as former employees in his CV. Still, supporters of both clubs won't feel too much hate for him being transferred to the bitter rival, as he played a total of zero matches. For both combined that is.

Thanks to Andreas Beuler for this largely boring, but matchworn shirt, which was probably worn by some Under-X national team!

Iran 2

Another extraordinary addition to my collection - one with a very special place indeed! This amazing shirt is a matchworn Iran shirt from 1996/1997 and came from an expat Iranian in the US, who again bought it from classicfootballshirts years ago, which means that it even comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

The shirt confused me a lot in the beginning, as the exact same shirt can be found on hundreds of pictures online, but from a different manufacturer! I have no idea if Saipa and Shekari, the both suppliers of the identical kit, are the same company after all, but they surely share a factory or just copy from each other. Even more remarkable is the fact, that both versions have been used in a single match! On the picture above you can see number 10 wearing the Saipa version of the shirt, while number 6 sports my Shekari version. A truly unique, but lovely, obscurity.

The other fact I love this shirt, is the person who used to wear it: Mr Markar Aghajanyan is an Armenian of Iranian citizenship and helps me perfectly to kill a prejudice about Iran on this blog. I often hear of people that complain about a Mosque being built in Europe "We would never be allowed to build one in Iran". You know what? Bullshit! And approximate 150,000 Christian Armenians live in Teheran for centuries. When I was in Nagorno-Karabakh, they told me "we have excellent relations to only Armenia and Iran". In fact, you have hundreds of cathedrals, monasteries and other Christian buildings all over Iran! And no, Christians in Iran are not minoritised or have to hide. Like Markar Aghajanyan was a Christian Armenian playing for Iran, many are. Actually, the current captain of the Iran national team, Andranik Teymourian, is Christian and "crosses himself" whenever he enters the pitch!
Such wrong prejudices just make me want even more to explore Iran and meet a few of the many wonderful Iranians I came across in their home country soon!

Guinea Bissau 3

Frédéric Mendy (Ulsan Hyundai FC, South Korea)
vs. Burkina Faso (0:2) | African Cup 2017 in Gabon
Guinea-Bissau, the Djurtus, finally made it to a major football tournament this year and of course there was no way that I do not celebrate this by getting their first-ever AFCON-shirt! I cheered frenetically for Djurtus in all of their group matches, but unfortunately the stoppage time equalizer vs. the host Gabon remained the only success for the team.

Guinea-Bissau was surely the ultimate minnow in the latest AFCON, but they did not qualify by luck. Their team consists, similar to Equatorial Guinea, of number of "scouted players" with some distinct Bissau family connections. One example is Frédéric Mendy, who was born in French, is a French citizens and only learned Portuguese when he happened to play in the Portuguese for 2 full seasons. I must note here, that Portugal seemed to be his second-most-logical country to migrate to and play in, just after Singapore, where he played prior. However, in Portugal some Bissau-scouts must have seen him and explored some Bissau-relation - and called him up for the national team straight away. He started with a blast, scoring in his first ever national team fixture, which remains his only national team goal to date. He is now playing in South Korea for the second season, but regularly travels back to Guinea-Bissau to play for "his fatherland", a land he only saw when he won his first cap.

Macedonia 7

Sasa Ciric (TeBe Berlin, Germany)
vs. Yugoslavia (1:3), Euro 2000 qualifiers, 1999 in Yugoslavia
Yip, it was about time to get another Macedonia shirt, I though! This one is a matchworn one of Sasa Ciric, a Nürnberg and Macedonia legend, and could be purchased for only 30€ including shipment. I am quite sure that the seller was either Sasa himself or someone from the "Nürnberg" universe, as he sold about 20 Nürnberg shirts and this one, most matchworn by Sasa Ciric.

This very design was worn in the 2000 Euros qualifier campaign, when Macedonia was put in one group with Yugoslavia and Croatia. As I have personally been to the infamous water tower of Vukovar and to Macedonia and Kosovo, I will never understand how FIFA can take care to not draw Azerbaijan and Armenia together, but had no issues with 3 former Yugoslav countries in the same group only a few years after one of them broke apart from Yugoslavia by war (Croatia) and the other was struggled intensely due to 350,000 refugees coming from its North, fleeing another war of Yugoslavia (Macedonia). Crazy! Milosevic was still in power when the Macedonia traveled to Belgrade to meet its former parent country, as pictured above. Yugoslavia, still a powerhouse of European football at that time, won convincingly, but Sasa Ciric converted a penalty for Macedonia, at least.

All my thanks go to the anonymous seller on ebay, which might be Sasa himself.

Jordan 2

Suleiman Al-Salman (Al-Wehda Club, Saudi Arabia)
vs. Japan (1:1), 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar
For this beauty of a shirt, all my thanks go to my Canadian mate Eric, who introduced to me Ahmad from Amman. And, of course, I own a lot of gratitude to Ahmad himself, who somehow convinced the JFA to sell this match issued 2011 shirt to him and ultimately to me!

While the shirt itself is, unfortunately, as dull as most Adidas strips are (did I ever said that no one is worse than Nike and Adidas in doing football shirts?), I like how the JFA tried to "pimp" it by applying "JORDAN" in huge letters with an odd red comic-style edging. It does not make Adidas' polyester-boredom an exactly fascinating or exciting shirt, but it prevents me from confusing it with the other 21049790312789503420 exactly identical shirts Adidas threw to clubs and national teams around the world.

Oh, I still love Jordan and its national teams, nonetheless (see Jordan shirt #1), but if the Jordan FA ever reads this: Go back to Jako, where you had one of the greatest and most elegant shirts in Asia, if not the world, and let my German country-mates of Adidas go bankrupt for their dullness!

Vietnam 2

Đỗ Duy Mạnh (Hà Nội T&T FC, Vietnam)
vs. Manchester City (1:8), friendly 2015 in Vietnam
Xin lỗi Đỗ Duy Mạnh! (Vietnamese for Sorry Do Duy Manh!). I know, this must feel bad for you Do Duy, but the shirt you swapped with Edin meant less to you than his shirt surely meant for you. That is the hard reality of the modern arrogant superstar, who does not value your friendly gift.

Đỗ Duy Mạnh swapping his shirt with Edin Džeko after the match
After the depicted swap was completed, Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian striker of Man City, went to his kitman and just passed on the Vietnam shirt of Mr Manh to him. What a cruelty! That very kitman, even worse, sold it to an English lad who is selling shirts of sources like the said kitman. And not even he wanted Manh suit! He sold it on to me.
But, don't worry Do Duy, I promise that your shirt finally found a caring home and will not be passed around any further! I love your shirt and I am really happy to finally have another matchworn Vietnamese shirt, even though it is "just" from a friendly match against the heartless overpaid Bosnian and his equally overpaid mates, who, adding to the pain, destroyed you when they visited your beautiful country.

So, ultimately, Cảm ơn bạn Đỗ Duy Mạnh! (Vietnamese for "Thank you Do Duy Manh!") and thanks to Richard, the last man in the chain, who sold it to me. A lovely piece of polyester, indeed!

Afghanistan 2

Norlla Amiri (Trelleborgs FF, Sweden)
vs. Singapore (0:1), WC 2018 qualifier, 2015 in Singapore
Finally, I got a matchworn Afghanistan shirt! Even better, it is signed by the whole squad!

I am unsuccessfully trying to get a matchworn Afghanistan shirts for ages, as I was never convinced that my earlier shirt was actually ever used by the squad. Given the fact that approximately half of the Afghan players fielded over the last 10 years are based in Germany, and speak perfect German, I was always convinced that it must be possible to get a shirt. In fact, I have spoken a lot to at least 5 Afghan national team players over the last years and was promised a shirt a couple of times. But, unfortunately, it never materialized, even when I drove all the way to Dreieich, where 4 national team players currently play, to pick it up.

But then I came across Eric Rasp, the former goalkeeper coach of the Afghanistan national team (and youth teams). Mr Rasp, a German, was extremely friendly and helpful! In fact, he sent me the only shirt he got from his time in Afghanistan, a shirt that was handed over to him by the squad as a souvenir of his time at the Hindukush! I am extremely grateful that Mr Rasp sent me this very special and precious gift and it has indeed a very special place in my collection. If you ever read that, thank you Mr Rasp!

Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017


Barawa (2016)
Unknown match
 Finally, I do have another update for the blog! And I promise to add a load of new shirts over the next days and weeks!

This is one is a beauty of a non-FIFA kit! The Dutch never quite understood how great a nice funky orange could look - but Barawa did! If you never heard of Barawa, don't worry, I didn't either, before I met the wonderful Haji Munye Haji, who runs their FA.
Barawa is a port city in Southern Somalia and is inhabited by the Bravanese People, a minority within Somalia, which now does have it's own national team, thanks to Haji!

Haji sent me this matchworn shirt over and actually just sent me a more current second one a few days ago - so stay tuned for more shirts sponsored by the amazing Red Sea - Exotic Fish sponsor ;)