It is not often that football kits can be continually referred to as works of art.
However, the tradition of an eagle adorning Mali’s kit is an exception to the rule, for it makes the wonderfully bold nature of the country and its people known to one and all.
First worn on the continental stage by the country’s heroes in AFCON 1972, the eagle has proudly decorated Mali’s kits for years.
An instant favourite among the fans, the eagle – talons bared – that jumps off the breastbone is a tell-tale sign of its quintessentially African heritage and has hence been preserved on almost every kit released since for the Mali national team.
Designed by French firm Airness for this year’s Africa Cup of nations, all three of Mali’s kits dazzle with colours that represent the country’s flag – green, gold and red.
The home kit is bright green in colour, with the eagle appearing on the chest in yellow. The upper chest and shoulder parts of the kit feature a subtle, fading pattern inspired by traditional Malian fabrics.
Based on the same blueprint, the away kit released by Airness is mainly white with the eagle in green.
The way the eagle morphs into the shoulders is also an inspired choice, and credit must go to the designers for the same.
Mali debuted their new home kit against Tunisia in the opening game of the group stage on January 12, 2022, and it must be said, it was a sight to behold. The aptly named Eagles won the match by a score of 1-0, but it was their attire that dominated the headlines.
Keeping traditions intact while designing modern football kits according to the ever-changing demands is quite a difficult task, but it must be said that Mali have shown to the world how to achieve a perfect symphony of both.
They say football is a game where nothing lasts, but this tradition is definitely one we will want to last and admire for years to come.