This week the sports giants Puma announced they would be celebrating their two-decade-long partnership with the Cameroon national team – a partnership which has conjured up some classic looks.
Furthermore, Puma have been supplying The Indomitable Lions with team wear through one of the most exciting times in their history, seeing the likes of a young Samuel Eto’o come through at the Olympics in 2000 and sponsoring he and teammates as the great man went on to become Cameroon’s all-time leading goal scorer and appearance maker. A gold medal in the year 2000 as well as two African Cup of Nations in 2000 and 2002, marked highlights in an iconic time for football in the African nation.
No less than 4 World Cup appearances in this time has also seen some amazing kits served up, but none more memorable than the controversial sleeveless jerseys of 2002. In the heat of Japan & South Korea – and amongst the marketing spectacle that saw the likes of David Beckham elevated to a god-like level of fame around the world – Cameroon and Puma did something to stand out and fight the elements.
(Eto’o throwing his shirt away, at the request of FIFA)
Looking like a basketball and football hybrid, Puma’s vest jerseys caught the eye of everyone during Cameroon’s opening game, including FIFA, who were outraged by the apparent crime of a football kit with no sleeves. The kit was deemed illegal and for the remainder of their time at the 2002 World Cup, black sleeves were attached to the statement-making jerseys in accordance to FIFA’s party pooping.
But two years later, Puma and Cameroon were pushing the boundaries once again, as they sported an all-in-one kit at the 2004 African Cup of Nations. With shirts and shorts attached, the tight-fitting number was aerodynamic and made it hard for opponents to tug on their shirts but once again. FIFA came in. Until the threat of a lawsuit from Puma, claiming that FIFA officials had actually given the kit the all clear, Cameroon were fined and saw points docked in their attempts to qualify for the next World Cup. The cost of fashion?