By Firew Asrat
If you ask an Ethiopian either in person or on social media about the new design of “Walia Ibex” national team kits, he/she will reply “Ethiopianism is more than just the red,yellow and green jersey”.
The new “Errea” manufactured national team kits have only one background color,with each strip of the national flag colors of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) signed a three year deal for three designs,each with a background color of green,yellow,and red.
EFF plan to change Walia’s jersey designs has been on the lips of many since December 2015. In January 2016, the Australia’s AMS clothing brought more than 10 designs proposal for fans to debate over and choose via Ethiopian sport websites and social media.
The designs were colorful and composed different arts. A few were chosen and proposed corrections forwarded;but in a sudden twist of events in july 2016, EFF announced it’s agreement with Errea.
This announcement has brought a new social media anger towards the federation as fans felt they were not part of decision making. Some went ahead to accuse the Juneidi Basha lead body of focusing on the money from the deal than the jersey designs. But some answer to this by saying the federation has a big sponsorship deal with beer company, Heinken covering the national teams so money problem should not be raised on the kitting deal.
Fans also raise questions over similarities of Errea’s designs to the previous addidas made jerseys.
The now controversial contract with Errea costs about 135,000 euros. The well known Italian based clothing company,Errea Sports will supply 90,000 euros worth of jerseys for free, while EFF will buy jerseys worth 45,000 euros.
The deal enables Errea to open a shop in Addis Ababa to sell replica jerseys with the company paying royalties to EFF.
The deal includes kitting of the men’s,women’s and youth national teams.
It is believed Errea is working day and night to start the supply to the national team for the last AFCON Gabon 2017 qualifier against Seychelles in Hawassa next month.