The Egyptian Football Association’s (EFA) Ehab Leheita explained some of the details behind the Pharaohs’ kit deal with German apparel maker Adidas in a TV interview this week, defending the team’s choice of outfitter.
“Any sponsorship deals for the national team, including kit deals like ours with Adidas, are done from World Cup to World Cup. They start just after the previous World Cup and end just after the next one,” he said.
“At the time we made our deal with Adidas, there weren’t many companies clamoring to be Egypt’s kit maker.”
Egypt saw a lengthy contract with Puma come to an abrupt end following the Port Said Stadium disaster in 2012 that left dozens killed.
“Egyptian football was in a very difficult place and Adidas took a big risk investing in us, both financially and in the amount of kit they provided us,” Leheita added.
“In my opinion it was a very good deal for us during a very tough time in our footballing history.”
Both Adidas and the EFA have come under fire recently from fans who deemed Egypt’s 2018 FIFA World Cup kit – and the designs preceding it – to be generic and lacking in effort. General sentiment is that the designs have not been up to the standard set by Puma in the late 1990s and 2000s.
“As far as the design, that’s all up to Adidas,” Leheita said.
“It’s possible that some people have better design ideas. That’s great, but Adidas owns the designs it gives its teams.
“When you sign a contract with them, that doesn’t mean you can design your own shirt. If we can adjust anything, it would be something very minor, but not the overall design.
“We can’t say ‘no, we don’t like this, give us something else.'”
Leheita says it would wrong to suddenly end Egypt’s deal with Adidas just before the World Cup finals, which begin next June in Russia.
“We can’t just cancel the contract at the very end – especially after they supported us and had our backs when we didn’t even have a league or supporters in the stands, and when other companies suddenly wanted nothing to do with us,” he said in a veiled reference to Puma.
Egypt’s 2018 home jersey was revealed earlier this month, but Adidas has yet to show off the Pharaohs’ away kit for the coming year.