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The official ball
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 13 - 06 - 2019

UMBRO has been announced as the official ball of the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, or AFCON. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the sports brand have entered into a new ball partnership agreement. The partnership will see the iconic sports brand become the exclusive ball supplier for the 2019 tournament in Egypt. The tournament will be played for the first time in the summer, in June and July, with 24 nations competing, an increase from the usual 16.
As the exclusive ball partner, Umbro will supply the CAF with the top-level Neo Pro ball. FIFA-certified, to be used at the highest level of the game, the Neo Pro features a textured Teijin Microfibre outer casing for durability, accuracy and true flight dependability. It also has a five-layer construction with a latex bladder for a consistent bounce, and a hand-stitched 14-panel design with sealed seams to ensure zero water absorption.
“The Neo Pro ball is beautifully designed,” said Darren Keet, South African national team goalkeeper and Umbro-sponsored player. “The bounce is consistent, and the textured outer casing gives you excellent feel and accuracy. I'm excited to be a part of the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 and can't wait to use the new ball at the tournament.”
Keeping with a longstanding tradition of supplying top-level balls to major tournaments around the world, Umbro has most recently supplied the Coupe de la Ligue ball in France and the official ball for the Liga Nacional de Futsal in Brazil.
“We couldn't be prouder and more honoured to have been selected by CAF as the official supplier of the match ball for the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2019,” said Tom Grzelak, head of brand at Umbro Middle East and Egypt. “Football is the biggest sport in Africa and as an authentic sports brand deeply rooted in football, we believe this partnership is a perfect match. Moreover, the tournament being played in Egypt will further reinforce Umbro's brand presence in the country. Fans will be able to purchase the official replica ball in selected sports stores in Egypt and the UAE,” Grzelak said.
Since 1924, Umbro has been providing apparel, footwear and equipment for players and fans of the game, and also for those inspired by the vibrant culture surrounding football.
Around the world, the ball has been with more than 120 clubs, including Everton, West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town (English Premier League); FC Schalke 04, Werder Bremen and 1; FC Nürnberg (German Bundesliga); PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie); SM Caen (French Ligue 1); Heart of Midlothian (Scottish Premiership); Girona (Spanish La Liga); Newell's Old Boys (Argentinean Primera Division); Santos, Grêmio, Cruzeiro and Chapecoense (Brazilian Série A); Independiente Santa Fe (Colombian Primera A); Nacional (Uruguayan Primera División); Herediano (Costa Rican Liga FPD); FC Tokyo and Gamba Osaka (Japanese J1) and Seongnam FC (South Korea); Ahly SC (Egyptian Premier League) and Al-Ahli Saudi Football Club (Saudi Pro League).


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