Hit or miss? Choice of Olympics kit has Kenyans divided
SPORTS By Jonathan Komen and Amos Mabinda | July 10th 2021 | 4 min read
The kit design that President Uhuru Kenyatta presented to Tokyo Olympic Games team on Thursday has generated mixed reactions from far and wide.
Kenyans took to social media with heavy criticism even as some lauded the new kits. The backlash comes even as the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) and the Government engaged sponsors over a long period of time to come up with the designs.
Olympic Games kit normally comprises ceremonial, travel, competition, warm-up, training and podium kits among others.
· Must have a national identity and representation and is normally designed locally.
· The attire factors in cultural elements like the Masai attire or wildlife; something that has a Kenyan attachment
· The kit is worn during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games
· Government partnered with Safaricom to come up with the kit.
· Represents government as the main sponsor of the national team
· Unlike previous Olympic outings, the government chipped in to offer the ceremonial kit.
· Kenyan Breweries Limited through its flagship beer, Tusker sponsored the national team with Sh45 million
· The sponsor (Tusker) must come up with a brand that represents Kenyan aspirations
· The design must reflect the country’s brand
· Designers were invited to bid for the travel kit in a competitive process
· Nock gives rights within the Olympic movement to the sponsor for them to enjoy the same visibility as the team travels
· Final product took less two months after Nock signed a deal with Tusker
Competrition, Warm up, Training and Podium kits
The American sportswear apparel company Nike has a contract with Nock to provide the kits and other products.
· The kits must look dynamic, inspiring
· Nike involve’s Nock, athletes for suggestions a process started during 2018 Diamond League event in Oregon
· Nike designers also approached the rugby team in South Africa for views on intended design
· Nike’s internal research considered weather conditions in Tokyo during summer and came up with a material that suits the conditions.
· The kit’s material absorbs and spreads sweat across the garment
Kenyans reaction to the kits
Despite this, it still attracted heavy criticism in social media.
“Last time we had really good kits while we went to Rio in 2016, National Olympic Committee of Kenya officials stole kits. Nothing was spared. They even stole sunglasses and swimming gear. Kenya team travelled to Brazil Olympics of singlets and boxers of Ngugi and Gabbana.” ShobaGatimu, @shobanes.
“What are those Olympic kits? Loudly crying face. Loudly crying face. We have so many talented designers in Kenya. What was the brief like?” The Variant, @eddbrainy.
“Only in Kenya could someone conceive something so ugly and dress our elite athletes in it. Nonsense!” MOgada, @m_ogada
“This administration with uniforms and kits you embarrassed the police now our Olympic heroes in Masai pajamas?”symbolDroplet, @kinoti
“Who designed Kenya’s Olympic kits? That person should be arrested and locked behind bars! Nkt!” Frank Orinde, @FrankOrinde
“Whoever did the Tusker Team Kenya Olympic kits did a dope job. I'd spend money on that!
Kazi Safi sana!” Kevin Isaac @nyawizzy
“Team Kenya kits for Olympics are” Kimanzi, @Kimanzi_
“Malkia Strikers are off to the Olympics and the kits are absolutely gorgeous. Bring it home ladies.” Miss Rachel, @RakeriSays
“Lakinihii kit ina too much going on...kituwamekosakuwekani leaves za chai, miraa na maize cob!” Poghie Ndonga, @poghie_esquire.
On safaricom branded kit: “Those uniforms look horrendous! Surely we have better designers in our country- maybe a good design competition would have produced a more appealing kit!” Edwin Onchari, @eonchari2
“Tokyo Olympics ceremonial kit by Safaricom. That Maasai print looks forced there. All in allall the best to Team Kenya”EglineSamoei, @EguarEglin
“White vest is better than the new attire”Asbek Kirui (Facebook)
Patrick Vieira kicks fan during pitch invasion after Everton beat Crystal Palace