The Puma Africa Unity football kit is not your standard kit, it is actually the world’s first “Continental Football Kit”.

In 2010 the footballing sphere was focused on Africa as it hosted both the African Cup of Nations in Angola and the first FIFA World Cup on the continent being held in my home country of South Africa.

On the 6th of January of that year Puma with the help of Samuel Eto’o officially launched their Africa Unity kit at Puma’s ‘Play for Life’ press conference held in Nairobi, Kenya. With the Kit officially recognised by FIFA as the third kit to be worn by the 12 Puma-sponsored African teams including the World Cup qualified teams of Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Algeria along with Africa Cup of Nations’ hosts Angola and the African Cup of Nations qualified national teams of Egypt, Mozambique, Togo and Tunisia,

The ‘Play for Life’ initiative was created between Puma and UNEP to support the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, raising awareness about habitat and species conservation and the shirt made a compelling global statement, raising awareness of important environmental issues while uniting the African football teams. Puma’s profits from the sale of the replica kits help fund biodiversity programs across Africa in particular endangered species such as Lions, Gorillas and elephants.

I purchased the special edition Africa unity player issued shirt a few years ago and my overall impression is that it is an exceptional shirt. Upon opening the lightweight wooden box, featuring the prominent Puma and Africa unity logos, I was immediately greeted with a “Jungle Roar” sound. This unique feature sets the tone for what is to come.

Upon seeing the shirt what stands out is its beautiful representation of the African landscape. The colour gradient, which transitions seamlessly from brown to blue, serves as an apt visual metaphor for soil to sky. The vibrant yellow detailing of the PUMA logo represents the sun shining down on Africa.

But what makes this shirt truly unique is the shade of brown used, which was created by mixing soil samples from Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, and Cameroon, making it an authentic representation of Africa. The shirt is also customisable as it includes the Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, and Ivory Coast badges and the 2010 Biodiversity badge which can also be applied to the shirt, adding to its uniqueness.

As for the fit, the player issue shirt is slightly tighter than the replica. However, it still maintains comfort and breathability while offering a sleek, stylish look.

Puma took a risk when designing the unity shirt and it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it represents not only the unity of African teams in football but also a unity to protect the value of all life on the planet and for that reason this shirt in my opinion should be celebrated as a true classic.

(By @woodwoodpyt on Twitter)

(References: Puma and UNEP announce strategic partnership to support the 2010 international year of biodiversity)