Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

UAE's Asian Cup away kit is incredible, but why is it so hard to find?

There must be an easier way for Emiratis and UAE residents to show their colours

While the UAE didn't book their place in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup in style on the pitch, they certainly did in the fashion stakes.

The tournament hosts needed extra time to defeat Kyrgyzstan 3-2 at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Monday. A silver-lining; the world could marvel at their change strip for another 30 minutes.

As a connoisseur of football shirts from retro to modern, the green and black Adidas kit is a beauty.

One could argue the colour scheme is a bit Mexico, but being predominantly black, it keeps the green tone in check. The graphic pattern on the front is a nice bespoke touch. The red trim on the sleeves is a smart way to cut through the darker tones. It's a shirt for both casual wear and six-a-side squads.

I would rank it the second greatest football shirt sported by the UAE, ahead of the 1990 World Cup home shirt, and just behind the infamous "UAE UAE UAE lettering" 1997 Fifa Confederations Cup home shirt. It's an instant classic.

All this belies an issue with sport tournaments held in the UAE. Getting your hands on official merchandise ranges from difficult to impossible.

The shirts are quietly available in club shops for a recommend price of Dh395. So you can find them at the Al Jazira shop at its stadium and at the Al Wahda FC store in Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs, praised the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed-led home crowd on Monday.

"The national pride accompanying UAE’s win over Kyrgyzstan is more important than the match itself and the team’s performance in the tournament," he tweeted.

Perhaps against Australia, the home side could create a sea of white, red, green and black at the stadium and around the country if these shirts were on sale everywhere.

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Updated: January 22, 2019 12:49 PM

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