Suddenly Sudan: Nation Switches Kit Suppliers on Eve of AFCON

On the eve of their opening match in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, it appears some chaos behind the scenes for the Sudanese team has affected how they look on the pitch.

Until recently, Sudan has been pictured on social media and in training photos wearing kits made by a company called Solo Sport. The kits were red for home and white for away, each with a tonal pattern and contrasting sleeve cuffs and V-neck collars.

However, when the team took the field for their opening match against Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday, they were wearing Adidas kits. Weirdly, the kits used the Tiro 13 teamwear template, which was first released nine years ago.

Even stranger, when Sudan took the pitch for the second half, they were wearing different Adidas kits. The second-half kits used the Tiro 17 template. Neither red shirt had numbers on the front, but they both had AFCON sleeve patches applied. But, as seen below, some names were printed in all caps and some were not.

Courtesy @SFA1936 / Twitter

The Sudanese Football Association also posted photos to their Twitter account of players wearing a white away kit with red shoulders. It uses another Adidas teamwear template, this time the Toque 13.

Other tweets going as far back as Dec. 27, 2021, show Sudanese players in Adidas kits, whether in training or pre-tournament friendlies.

But they were wearing the Solo Sport away kit in training on Dec. 26, 2021. Promotional photos and match graphics since then have either had the Solo Sport logo photoshopped out or shown players in Adidas kits.

Sudan has used Adidas kits in the past; a search of Getty Images shows they wore the Tiro 13 template in 2016 in a game against the Ivory Coast, and also wore Adidas kits at their last appearance at AFCON in 2012. But they wore Solo Sport jerseys during the FIFA Arab Cup, which took place in November 2021.

The switch may have something to do with an argument between Solo Sport and the designer of the jerseys. According to Footy Headlines, the Solo Sport kits were designed by a concept shirt creator in the United Kingdom named Ash, who agreed to work for free as long as he was credited when the kit launched. However, no such credit was given.

Ash claims comments he left on social media posts were removed, and that Solo Sport has used several other designs he created with no credit or compensation.

“It’s taught me a very, very harsh lesson. It was literally a dream to have a National team use a design of mine and I feel like that’s been robbed from me now.”

— Concept kit designer Ash (courtesy Footy Headlines)