Africa Cup of Nations: Kit Sponsors
From January 14th till February 5th Gabon will host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. 16 nations will compete across 4 cities for the African Championships and a place at this year’s Confederations Cup in Russia.
The 2017 AFCON
Adidas sponsors the most teams at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations with four. Host nation Gabon, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco will all play in Adidas kits. The three-striped brand is also a tournament sponsor. German competitor Puma sponsors three teams: defending champion Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana
Italian company Macron has supplied kits to Togo, while debutant Guinea-Bissau will wear Qelemes. Other brands, such as Uhlsport, Airness and O’Neills, are also only linked with one nation playing at the tournament.
Zimbabwe will be wearing Mafro kits. The federation had a deal with Spanish company Joma, but terminated the contract recently. Mafro has stepped in at the last moment, allegedly donating the kits rather than having a sponsorship agreement.
Surprisingly, it is Nike that is absent as kit sponsor or supplier at the 2017 African Championships.
Battle of the brands among star players
When looking at the five players who were shortlisted for the 2016 African Player of the Year award, it is Nike who sponsors most of these star players. With all of them playing at AFCON 2017, Nike will be represented at the tournament despite not sponsoring a single nation.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Islam Slimani (Algeria) all wear the latest Nike boots. That is four out of five star players wearing the American brand.
Mohamed Salah (Egypt), who completed the shortlist, dons Adidas boots.
Last five Africa Cup of Nations winners
The last five winners of the Africa Cup of Nations all wore one of the three main brands of the sports apparel industry: Puma, Adidas or Nike. Puma partnered Egypt during the nation’s successful runs in both 2008 and 2010. The German brand also supplied Ivory Coast when they won the 2015 edition.
When Nigeria won in 2013, the Super Eagles wore Adidas kits. While 2012 champions Zambia wore Nike kits during their successful campaign that year.
Compared to EURO 2016 and Copa América Centenario
At both EURO 2016 and Copa América Centenario, Nike and Adidas supplied a lot of the kits. Puma sponsored far more sides at EURO 2016 than at the Copa Centenario. Nike is not present at all as a kit sponsor at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, while Adidas and Puma are main suppliers at this event.
At the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations there is even more diversity among kit brands than there was at the European and South American equivalents. With 11 different kit brands, there are four more brands than at EURO 2016 and three more than at the Copa América Centenario. With some relative smaller football nations participating at AFCON, this is no surprise.
Bigger football nations are in general sponsored by bigger brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma. As the previous five editions showed, it is often those nations that are crowned champions. Will this be the case again this year?
Update: A previous edition of this article falsely stated Macron as official sponsor of Guinea-Bissau. Thank you to Staffer Johnson for pointing out that it is Qelemes.