We’re back to non-FIFA and probably one of the most famous and recognisable shirts in the shape of Zanzibar!
The shirt might be seen as some as a bit of a laugh but this was an official hummel design from around 2008. Whether the Zanzibar side actually ever wore it is another question entirely and one I can’t find the answer to. The shirt itself was also included in an April Fools joke by Danish club AGF Aarhus who put their own badge and sponsor on the front and told fans it was their new away strip. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I bet Aarhus fans were gutted!
Beneath the humour, Zanzibar’s footballing story is one of despair and frustration. The Zanzibar FA was formed way back in 1926 and they are a member of the CECAFA (Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations) which is an associate member of the African governing body Confederation of African football.
However, their attempts at entering FIFA’s elite have been snubbed with their most recent try in 2005 being turned down on grounds that the island is too close to ‘parent’ country Tanzania and that they should just play their football within Tanzania. Who wants national pride, eh? Despite Zanzibar being semi-autonomous and having its own president, it wasn’t enough for Mr Blatter and co.
What makes it more frustrating is that Zanzibar wouldn’t be another whipping boy of African football. They’ve done well in the CECAFA Cup against FIFA members and won the competition in 1990. They also finished third in 2005, 2009 and 2012 and with FIFA money would surely only improve.
As a non-FIFA member, Zanzibar have also competed in other tournaments such as the ELF Cup, where they finished fourth in 2006. They came third in the 2012 VIVA World Cup and were runners up at the 2006 FIFI World Cup. Interestingly, they were knocked out of all three by the strong Northern Cyprus team.
Zanzibar were scheduled to play in the upcoming ConIFA World Football Cup in Ostersund but unfortunately had to pull out due to ‘visa issues’. In truth, it was also a bit hopeful for them to expect to compete and one of the biggest issues they have is they’re so far away from so many of non-FIFA’s heavyweights and regular competition is almost impossible without a big influx of cash.
I hope Zanzibar continue their fight with FIFA but unfortunately I can’t see the wonderful governing body budging on their ignorant stance. Until then, Zanzibar will have to make do with the CECAFA Cup but maybe a few more good showings will force the issue.
I’ve been looking to add this shirt to the collection for some time and eventually found a cheap auction on eBay and manage to snap it up for a very good price. Its leopard print design with an actual leopard on the front of the shirt is completely unique, awesome and slightly terrifying at the same time! Welcome aboard Zanzibar!