Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Obscure World Cup Kits From History #4

By way of adding a final entry to this feature which we started right back in the early days of SPAOTP, we give you one of the oddest kits ever to be worn in a World Cup. Be it home kit or away, there have never been any quite as personalised as those worn by Zaire in 1974.

On the face of it, they were nothing special (the kits, that is – not the players). The home strip of yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow socks, plus the reverse colour-scheme for the away strip, were vivid enough. Both kits also had that look of a market stall Adidas-knock off, but then again so did many others at the time.  There's even the possibility those kits actually *were* made by Adidas, but that's to miss the point.

No. The one stand out feature about Zaire's kits were the big circular logos (if that's what you can call them) emblazoned all over the shirts. The word 'Leopards' could be seen inside the circle (pertaining to the team's nickname) and 'Zaire' was shown beneath it. But just what was that image in the middle?

We can only presume it was some stylised picture of a leopard, but to be honest, we're not entirely sure. It could have been a cock-up at the shirt-printing factory or a badly executed cartoon picture of Idi Amin's head for all we know. Yet for all that doubt, Zaire wore their shirts with pride, whatever the hell that image was supposed to be.

And you've got to admire their balls (if you can squint hard enough) for this was a bold, unique design that no-one before or since has adopted for their own good (that we're aware of). Imagine the fun you could have applying the same idea to other teams… Scotland could have a big circle with a thistle inside it, Ivory Coast could have a big circle with an elephant inside it and France could have a big circle with a huge coq inside it. The possibilities are endless…

Sadly, 1974 was to be Zaire's only appearance at the World Cup to date, meaning no chance to see those wondrous shirts again. We can only hope that under their new name, Democratic Republic of Congo, they qualify again and wear shirts based on that classic from 36 years ago. Failing that, we'll be happy if they just do this again…


footiephantom said...

where can i buy one of those badboys niceeee

Graham said...

TOFFS, inevitably, do a couple in green...


flicktokick said...

Ah, it all makes sense.
This being one of Scotland's most famous World Cup victories (our first ever) the Zaire jersey provided the inspiration for the big shieldy thing on the front of the new Adidas Scotland strip.

Chris O said...

You know what, FlicktoKick - you may be onto something there. Glad we helped you to resolve that small matter. :)

Thanks for stopping by to make us feel nostalgic just before we shut up shop, by the way - it's been great having you visit our site down the years!

flicktokick said...

I have obviously missed something Chris (and I apologise for the lack of diligence).

You are going?

I may not always have commented but I have enjoyed the blog immensely since I found you in 2006.

Good luck with whatever you do to replace SPAOTP.


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