Monday brought a couple of glad tidings to Ghanaian football fans: first, German sportswear manufacturer PUMA dropped the new national jerseys before, as the final minutes of the summer transfer window ticked, Black Stars vice-captain Thomas Partey sealed a record move to English giant Arsenal from Atletico Madrid. The latter has been covered in some detail on this website; now, let’s look at the former.
Dailymailgh.com reviews the new shirt(s) Partey will rock later this evening when Ghana takes on Mali in an international friendly (sorry, Arsenal, your own jerseys will have to wait a little longer).
1. STYLE & DESIGN (B+)
Get a cauldron, fill it with Ghana’s national colours, add a spoonful of the country’s rich tradition to taste.
Ghana’s boldest, most colorful kits in a long while.
PUMA’s designs, over the years (14 now, eh?), haven’t always been very imaginative — with, I think, the noteworthy exception of the 2014 shirts that weren’t quite dignified with the sort of performances/behaviour the artistic effort that went into it deserved — but the latest certainly buck the trend.
Really, what’s not to like?
Conservatives who had long pined for a return of the yellow shirts of old should feel appeased by this offering — not the first-choice, yes, but still better than nothing — which evokes nostalgia and, at the same time, looks nothing like any design we’ve ever had. It features, on the body, a yellow canvas patterned with a motif that most Ghanaians would readily identify (more on that later); black across the upper back and down the sleeves; all topped by a half-ribbed crew-neck.
The collar’s red colour also features on the home shirt which is unsurprisingly white — did I hear you mtchew? — and generally a monochrome version of the alternative. Just why Ghana always end up looking more colorful on the road than at home, though, is a question PUMA might have to answer.
2. QUALITY (A)
Regarding quality, however, PUMA has absolutely no explanation to do. There is zero compromise on the ‘100% polyester’ product, “enhanced with PUMA dryCELL technology for moisture-wicking comfort and performance,” and PUMA Formstrip panel on the shoulders and at the back. There really isn’t much to analyse here; this, after all, is one of the world’s leading brands.
3. REPRESENTATION (A*)
Back to the graphics now: Ghanaians would easily recognise it as inspired by kente; non-Ghanaians could refer to the headscarf Naomi Osaka wore in the aftermath of her US Open triumph in June, or to the pretty stoles White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other US Democrat lawmakers [in]famously wore a little earlier in the year when making a statement against the twin scourge of racism and police brutality.
Kente has been part of Ghanaian culture for years — centuries, even — as a symbol of national identity, and is hardly out of place here.
4. ACCEPTANCE (B-)
Now, this is where it gets tricky. Public opinion about the shirts have been mixed — mostly positive, though, for the reason discussed in the preceding slide — and it helps that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has already given away a few on the streets to boost their popularity. There aren’t enough freebies to go round, though, and the $90 (just north of GHC500) price tag would put off many prospective buyers, especially those already feeling the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial implications. Knock-offs would go for far, far less — but, hey, you didn’t hear that from me.
5. SUMMARY (A)
PUMA delivered, maybe, their best Ghana strips yet. Many are already impressed (like me), and those who aren’t should embrace it soon (do they have a choice?). Whether or not we can all afford to obtain personal replicas, though, is another matter altogether — and, really, that’s the only major downside here.
NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH