Cameroon’s sleeveless jersey in 2002 was one of the most iconic and easily recognisable kits in international football history.
Twenty-years ago, Cameroon headed to the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali to defend their title from two years earlier, which they had won via a penalty-shootout victory over Nigeria.
They boasted a young squad filled with stars like Arsenal’s Lauren, Rigobert Song and a young Samuel Eto’o, all eager to show their dominance once again.
And that is exactly what they did, cruising to their fourth AFCON title while wearing a unique kit which gave them the appearance and possibly the ability of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Yellow socks, red shorts and a sleeveless green top – in other words a vest – ensured that all eyes were on a rampant Cameroon as they clinched another trophy.
The Indomitable Lions wore it across all of their matches that tournament, including the final against Senegal, but the ever-joyless FIFA decided they had to ditch it for the 2002 World Cup just a few months later.
FIFA spokesperson Keith Cooper said at the time that the kit was rejected because “they’re not shirts, they’re vests.”
Cooper added: “You can always expect something different from Cameroon, not only in terms of their shirts,” in a half-compliment half-jibe towards the Kings of Africa.
The decision by FIFA meant the sponsors had to get creative with a new design ahead of the World Cup.
But in a huge ‘F* you’ to FIFA, Puma decided to merely stitch on black sleeves, allowing it to still have the appearance of a vest.
From up close it also provided a striking contrast to the bluish green and fluorescent yellow tones.
Do you think Cameroon's vest is the greatest AFCON kit ever? Let us know in the comments section.
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Unfortunately for the side, their new look did not provide a similarly successful outcome as a few months prior, crashing out of the World Cup group stage following a 2-0 loss to Germany and a draw with Republic of Ireland.
In a hilarious turn of events, Cameroon then decided to line up for the 2004 edition of AFCON in what can only be described as a onesie, thus proving Cooper’s statement correct.
The national team was fined and even docked points in their World Cup qualification group for wearing the one-piece top and shorts, before FIFA rescinded their decision and ended two years of kit controversy.
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