Egyptian Premier League giants Al Ahly hark back to tradition for 19/20 Umbro kit

Nick Watkins - Writer 12:30 17/10/2019
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Looking good in red: Al Ahly's star left-back Ali Maaloul

Al Ahly have made a blistering start to the season and currently sit top of the Egyptian Premier League having won their opening three fixtures. Last Saturday the league leaders put five past Aswan in a rampant 1-5 away victory. A much tougher test is expected next for Rene Weiler’s men as they take on Zamalek, who are also unbeaten this season and currently sit fourth in the table.

As things take shape on the field, the club also revealed its new home shirt for the 2019-2020 season and celebrated Al Ahly’s partnership with British football brand Umbro, which began back in 1979. The new kit is inspired by the jersey worn at the beginning of the partnership, “Earlier in the year, when we were planning on the kit, we ran into some archive images of Al Ahly wearing Umbro back in 1979,” says Tom Fonti Grzelak, Brand Manager, Umbro. “Just then we realised that this will be our story line and the design inspiration for the 19/20 kit”

“To be back as Al Ahly’s technical supplier after 40 years comes with lot of pride and responsibility. The club is one of the biggest and most successful in the world, so we need to set our standards high in everything we do for them and their fans. This season’s jersey is a tribute to the origin of our partnership and a symbol for future success,” adds Grzelak.

The traditional red home kit, available at the Umbro showroom in Al Quoz, has the brand’s logo along the shoulders and is finished with a white trim around the collar in sleeves. Following the launch came the announcement of the club’s new black away kit and striking green third kit. The launch campaign built around the notion ‘Back to Origins’ highlighting key moments from the club’s past.

Umbro sponsors more than 120 clubs around the world including Everton, West Ham United, FC Schalke 04 and PSV Eindhoven. The company began life in 1924 in the cupboard of the Bull’s Head Hotel, owned by the parents of the Humphreys brothers, Wallace and Harold. The pair had little experience in business, although two years prior to starting the brand, Harold had launched his own sportswear retail business. Arguably the sports brand’s finest moment in their 95-year history came when 15 of the 16 teams in the 1966 World Cup wore Umbro kits, including England – who continued to don the Humphreys brothers’ creation until 2012.

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David De Gea aggravated injury during draw in Sweden

Press Association Sport 09:44 16/10/2019
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David De Gea received treatment for an injury at half-time during Spain’s 1-1 draw in Sweden before aggravating the problem and withdrawing in the second half, according to Spain boss Robert Moreno.

The goalkeeper was eventually forced off after an hour at the Friends Arena in Stockholm and could now face being ruled out of Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday.

De Gea hobbled out of the Euro 2020 qualifier following an innocuous-looking incident, having immediately grabbed the back of his thigh after clearing a back pass from his own player.

He sat on the ground in his six-yard box before making his own way off the pitch accompanied by the Spanish medical team.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping the injury is not serious, with a crunch clash against leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford just five days away.

Asked about the injury in his post-match press conference, Moreno said: “He had pain in the abductor muscle but he received treatment at half-time and wanted to keep playing. He gave us his word, but in the end he couldn’t continue.”

Spain were behind at the time of De Gea’s departure thanks to Marcus Berg’s goal 10 minutes earlier but substitute Rodrigo poked home from close range in stoppage time to seal the point that Spain needed to confirm their place at Euro 2020.

After ensuring qualification for next summer’s finals, Moreno said: “It is a draw but it tastes like a victory for us, and probably a defeat for Sweden.

“I am happy with the team’s game and with the players. It was a difficult game against a rival that eliminated great teams in the World Cup. We are very happy.

“When you become a high-level team like Spain, it is an obligation to qualify. I want to remember (former manager) Luis Enrique and his family and dedicate this qualification to them also.”

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Italy boss Roberto Mancini sets sights on European Championship glory

Press Association Sport 08:36 16/10/2019
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Roberto Mancini will not consider himself among the greatest Italy managers of all time until he has delivered a couple of World Cups – but winning the European Championship would certainly be a start.

A 5-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Liechtenstein in Vaduz made it nine straight wins for the Azzurri under Mancini, matching the achievement of storied Italy coach Vittorio Pozzo.

His side were already assured of a place at next summer’s finals thanks to their win last week against Greece, but an Andrea Belotti brace and goals from Federico Bernardeschi, Alessio Romagnoli and Stephan El Shaarawy further boosted the confidence of a squad who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Mancini has rightly been credited with turning their fortunes around – although he is unwilling to carried away with personal achievements and reserved special praise for his younger players.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Am I bothered about matching Pozzo’s record? I would be more interested in winning two World Cups and the Olympics like he did.

“However, I suppose I’d settle for winning the Euros…”

Of the match, which saw Bernardeschi plunder an early opener before Italy waited almost 70 minutes to score again, Mancini said: “We struggled a bit before we couldn’t find that second goal straight away.

“There were so many changes to the team that it was understandable, they had to find a little chemistry between them first.

“The important thing is that all the kids were involved. In June I will be forced to make choices and some good players will have to be left out.”

Belotti’s goal midway through the second half finally broke Liechtenstein’s resolve.

The Torino striker told figc.it: “This is an Italy team who are more confident and willing to do what the coach wants, the group follows his ideas.

“We are playing some beautiful stuff out there… two years after what we went through.”

Debutant Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who provided the assist for Belotti’s second right at the death, added: “I found out I was playing this morning. I just tried to play my game and do what Mancini asked.

“I’m happy for the whole team, it was important for us to continue this run of victories.

“It’s a nice group and there is a good atmosphere, it’s easy for new players to integrate.”

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