The long-awaited set of playing gear delivered by sportswear manufacturers Umbro to Ghanaian giant Accra Hearts of Oak was unveiled at a grand event last week to much fanfare.
Daily Mail GH reviews the lot, courtesy pictures from the club’s social media account and sports journalist Felix Romark.
1. STYLE & DESIGN (B+)
Umbro is all about diamonds, and the Manchester-based firm rarely ever fails to leave that much imprinted on their shirts — and on the minds of all who wear/see them. The shapes are less numerous and wider on the white away strip, though, with the home shirt having them all over the trunk in more condensed form. The diamonds come in red, yellow, blue and violet — colors of the rainbow Hearts traditionally identify with.
There is more violet on the pair of shorts which complements the home shirt and, like the white alternative, has a red band just behind the knee. The latter has extra red descending in a V-shape from the waistband where pockets might have been. Down the sides of the white shirt, too, there is same. Around the cuffs of both round-necked shirts, not-so-subtle bands remind you some more of where the kits came from (more on that later), as though it weren’t obvious enough. The goalkeeper’s apparel is less colorful, featuring the same diamond template but with a blue theme.
2. QUALITY (A)
Quality-wise, there is not much to complain about. Umbro spared nothing in their maiden offering for Hearts, and rightly so. It is as good as it gets, and Hearts fans would love it. The texture is thick, a bit on the heavy side, but good enough for our climate. Full marks here.
3. REPRESENTATION (C)
Hearts have never worn anything like this, for a fact. Aside the familiar colors, the design — especially for the red shirt, reminiscent of a classic Kente pattern from afar — does not readily connect with some relic in Hearts’ 107-year history, even in an era of throwbacks. But history starts from somewhere, and peculiar as it may seem now, this could be a reference point someday.
4. ACCEPTANCE (B)
Unless it’s Nigeria’s current outfit, jerseys are seldom embraced unanimously. Especially with its unusual design, Hearts’ first-choice shirt — which, presumably, should get off the market faster — would take some getting used to. Hopefully, it would catch on before long, though the GH₵ 160 price tag — just GH₵ 10 less for registered Phobians — might put many potential buyers off.
The kits are altogether great, ticking most boxes and representing a strong start to Hearts’ relationship with Umbro. Cost is the obvious concern, but there are lesser weak points to be addressed. Take, for instance, the series of Umbro logos around the cuffs implied earlier: it is a bit dated, a feature of the designs Umbro produced for its club clients around the world last season, although Umbro-fitted national teams — like Benin and Zimbabwe at the ongoing Afcon — are adorned with the motif.
Then there is the Hearts logo and Umbro’s which, per the standard, should have been stitched rather than printed. Further down, the Umbro trademark cops another question mark, with yellow on white socks hardly achieving any contrast.
In all, the whole package scores a more-than-decent B+.
Sammie Frimpong — Daily Mail GH