he Confederation of African Football (CAF) has entered into a partnership agreement with kit manufacturers, Umbro, to provide footballs for its competition, starting with the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The partnership, made public yesterday, will see the iconic sports brand become the exclusive ball supplier for the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2019 in Egypt.
As the exclusive ball partner, Umbro will supply the CAF with the top-level Neo Pro ball.
The Neo Pro ball, certified by football's world governing body, FIFA, to be used at the highest level of the game, features a textured Teijin Microfibre outer casing for durability, accuracy and true flight dependability.
It also has a five-layer construction with a latex bladder for a consistent bounce, and a hand-stitched 14-panel design with sealed seams to ensure zero water absorption.
Speaking after the announcement, Tom Grzelak, Head of Brand at Umbro Middle East and Egypt described the partnership between CAF and Umbro as the 'perfect match' given what they both stand for.
“We couldn’t be prouder and more honoured to have been selected by CAF as the official supplier of the match ball for the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2019.
“Football is the biggest sport in Africa and as an authentic sports brand deeply rooted in football, we believe this partnership is a perfect match,“ Grzelak said.
Already, some footballers who will participate in the 2019 AFCON have been trying out the balls and South Africa's goalkeeper, Darren Keet, who is also sponsored by Umbro said of the ball: The Neo Pro ball is beautifully designed. The bounce is consistent, and the textured outer casing gives you excellent feel and accuracy.
"I’m excited to be a part of the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 and can’t wait to use the new ball at the tournament” Keet, who is part of South Africa's squad indicated.
The partnership between CAF and Umbro was also announced on the manufacturer's Twitter page.
We’re pleased to be the official ball supplier for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt 🇪🇬— Umbro (@umbro) 29 May 2019
The 24 participating teams will be using our FIFA certified Neo Pro football.#afcon2019 #Egypt pic.twitter.com/cU720AzzDT
Umbro has a longstanding tradition of manufacturing sports kits since 1924 and is a supplier of balls for major competitions globally.
Umbro is the ball supplier for the Coupe de la Ligue ball in France and the official ball for the Liga Nacional de Futsal in Brazil.
In addition, the sports manufacturing company based in Cheadle, near Manchester in the United Kingdom, sponsors more than 120 clubs around the world.
The Umbro deal takes over an initial deal with another UK-based kits manufacturing company, Mitre, which supplied the balls used for the 2017 AFCON.
Mitre supplied the balls for the 2017 AFCON in Gabon
Until the Mitre deal in 2017, adidas, another well known sports manufacturing company had been supplying the footballs for all CAF competitions.
adidas supplied and came up with theme-based balls for each competition with special names like Wawa Ba for the 2008 AFCON staged in Ghana, Jandulani for the 2010 AFCON in Angola and Katlego for the 2013 AFCON in South Africa when CAF shifted the biennal competition from even years to odd years.
AFCON balls over the years
Marhaba Equatorial Guinea AFCON 2015
Katlego South Africa AFCON 2013
Comoequa Gabon, Equatorial Guinea AFCON 2012
Jabulani Angola AFCON 2010
Wawa Ba Ghana AFCON 2008