African Cup of Nations memories

We've teamed up with brand new soccer kit supplier AMS (like them on Facebook) to give you the chance to win a Sierra Leone or South Sudan kit.

Members of South Sudan's national team (Photos: AMS Clothing).

The best football tournament in the world, the Africa Cup of Nations, starts on Saturday. Forget the Premier League, for the next few weeks, it’s all about what happens in Equatorial Guinea. To get you in the mood, we’ve teamed up with brand new soccer kit supplier AMS (like them on Facebook) to give you the chance to win a Sierra Leone or South Sudan kit. Sadly neither of those teams made it to AFCON, but you’ll still be the envy of all your friends if you get your hands on one of these beautiful, original designs.

To have a chance of winning one of the jerseys, simply choose your favorite moment from any Africa Cup of Nations, describe it, and explain why it was memorable and meaningful for you. It could be a moment of joy, amazement, shock, surprise, fury, glee, schadenfreude, melancholy, or even sadness. The richer and more distinctive your description, the better — we want to learn something about you as well as what happened on the pitch.

Post your entry in the comments under this post, or to our Facebook page. Our editorial team will review all entries, and select the two winners (judges’ decision is final!). As well as getting a shirt, we’ll publish winning entries on Africa is a Country during this year’s tournament. Closing date: midnight GMT, January 23.

We’re also running a Fantasy Football league throughout AFCON — hurry so you don’t miss the first round! Click here to set up your team, and then join our “Africa is a Country Liga”, code 10550350708289.

You’ll notice that AMS aren’t one of the multinational sportswear giants that have traditionally supplied kits to African national teams — Puma, Adidas etc. We caught up with AMS founder Luke Westcott, and asked him to explain a bit more about how AMS got started, what makes it distinctive, and where it’s heading.

“Founded in late 2013, AMS recognised the social, as well as commercial opportunities presented in the hugely popular, yet largely informal football industry in Africa. This recognition came about after traveling to Africa and discovering that the only football apparel available for purchase at a reasonable price were low-quality, counterfeit products. Many of these products were the national team apparel of each respective country we travelled to. This led to the idea of becoming the official national team suppliers, and then providing the respective national football federations with the opportunity to offer their official products to the domestic market, at a price that meet the market demands. This means that fans can purchase official products, featuring cool designs, at a fair price, whilst supporting their national football federation in the process. Furthermore, we also supply the international market through the AMS online store and a few other retailers. This allows us to raise revenue and expand to further countries.

“The main focus we highlight to FA’s as to why they should choose us is the opportunity we provide them to effectively commercialize on the popularity of the national team. Many of the smaller federations never receive revenue from apparel sales, even when they are supplied by major sportswear brands. Many of these brands do not make apparel available for purchase, and if they do, it is often at a price that is way too expensive for most people in the domestic market. Furthermore, all our designs are customized and are created to the specifications of the FA. We never use boring template designs, and always try to design something interesting that will be popular with local fans.”

Further Reading

Beyond the headlines

Recent violence across the Eritrean diaspora is being instrumentalized by populists. But the violence is a desperate cry for attention and requires the Eritrean opposition to seize the moment for regime change.

Action required

Held in Nairobi this month, the inaugural Africa Climate Summit is an important step for the continent’s response to climate change. Still, the disasters in Libya and Morocco underscore that rhetoric and declarations are not enough.

The strange non-death of Bantustans

That South African political parties across the spectrum were quick to venerate the politician and Zulu prince Mangosutho Buthelezi, who died last week, demonstrates that the country is still attached to Bantustan ideology.

Shifting the guilt

Even though Israeli novelist Agur Schiff’s latest book is meant to be a satirical reflection on the legacy of slavery and stereotypes about Africa, it ends up reinforcing them.

Banana Republics

Western leftists are arguing among themselves about whether there will be bananas under socialism. In Africa, however, bananas do not necessarily represent the vagaries of capitalism.