On the eve of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations that will kick off on 9 January with hosts the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon taking on the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the curtain-raiser, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has partnered with sportswear giant Umbro in a multi-year deal.
At the continental finals in Cameroon, Umbro will kit all referees, volunteers, and associated personnel as well as provide the tournament’s official match ball ‘Toghu’, which is named after the host country’s traditional outfits.
“Umbro has been an intrinsic part of African football for a long period. And we are pleased to finally formalise this relationship and ensure that we take this to another level.” Said CAF general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba.
Though quite what he means by ‘intrinsic’ is a little confusing. A previous deal equipment deal with French company Tactical Steel was one of the triggers that brought down former president Ahmad. Africa’s relationship with its kit suppliers has generally been shrouded in controversy and allegations of corruption
“This CAF, ably led by President Patrice Motsepe, is building a strong rapport with the commercial world. And Umbro’s partnership further demonstrates this. With ‘Toghu’ now an official match ball, we hope that this ball can create many lasting memories after the final whistle of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations.” Said Veron.
And just like that, corruption at CAF is ended.
The partnership with Umbro is targeted to extend beyond the confederation and into member association with the aim to enhance the viability of African football and a planned launch of a news aggregation app in the future. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“This is a proud moment for Umbro in Africa and demonstrates our commitment to the development of football on the continent at all levels, from amateur grassroots to the grandstands of the professional game. The intentions of our team are clear. We are here to work and support African football for the long-term.” Said Byron Mulholland, Director at Umbro South Africa.
“For a very long time, we have contributed to the building of African football. And we are excited to continue this work in association with the continent’s organizing body, CAF. We are honoured to have the double diamond featured on Africa’s greatest football stage once again and look forward to replicating this at all CAF events, including the upcoming Pan-Africa Schools Football Championship.”
Umbro South Africa’s Team Liaison Manager Kirby Stein added that “The credible and holistic support of African football underscores every element of this partnership.”
“Our goal is to continue to support federations and teams across the African continent. And together with CAF, we’ve planned some exciting commercial initiatives for our partnered teams to further enable their digital and commercial strategies.”
Separately CAF has agreed a one-year content deal with TikTok.
It is TikTok’s first major brand partnership in Africa. And this will see TikTok support the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations that starts Sunday, as well as the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League 2022 and the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2022 in Morocco.
No value was given the deal. For TikTok the question will be how much their content proposition will be impacted by the multiple covid challenges that are currently threatening AFCON.