AFCON fashion stakes

The Ivory Coast jersey draws inspiration from the country's national symbol, the elephant

The Senegal shirt is dominated by the Baobab tree, a symbol of strength, power and pride

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The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations is almost upon us, so it only seems right that we check out what the cream of the crop will be wearing.


Ivory Coast replica shirt
Manufacturer: Puma
RRP: £49.99
Worn by: Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Cheick Tiote
Rating: 4/5

Senegal replica shirt
Manufacturer: Puma
RRP: £49.99
Worn by: Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Armand Traore
Rating: 4/5

Club bosses might not be too happy about the prospect of spending the next few weeks watching their star turns don international colours, but there is no reason for supporters not to nail their colours to a particular mast and get behind their adopted nation of choice.

If you are looking for Premier League interest, then the Ivory Coast and Senegal are pretty safe bets.

Both countries are expected to be there or thereabouts when the silverware is handed out, and both have notable names from English football circles within their ranks.

Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Cheick Tiote, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse - all key men for their clubs and all set to be gracing the Africa Cup of Nations.

Should you be a follower of Chelsea, Manchester City or Newcastle, you may want to get fully behind your boys by turning out in their national colours.

And why not? Puma's latest offerings are a cut above most international clobber and will certainly help to brighten up a bleak winter wardrobe.

The Ivory Coast and Senegal will be turning out in Puma jerseys over the next few weeks and you could be doing the same, with these shirts ideal for local five-a-side or crashing out in front of the box watching the action unfold.

Both offerings look the business and will represent a sound investment for those looking for something a little different.

Puma have worked closely with a selection of African artists throughout the design process - the Creative African Network (CAN) - and that comes across in the finished articles.

The graphic that adorns the Ivory Coast shirt was designed by CAN artist Ernest Duku, with inspiration taking from the country's national symbol, the elephant - with the trunk representing the country's never-ending love for football.

Switching to the Senegal design, which was dreamt up by Samba Fall, and we see that the Baobab tree dominates - with the tree a symbol of strength, power and pride.

Both jerseys combine performance fundamentals from Puma's Speed collection and infuse them with core African elements and a bright, bold colour palette.

Mesh inserts also increase breathability, allowing air to circulate freely around the body keeping you dry and comfortable.

All in all, these are a smart piece of kit.

They may be a bit figure-hugging - beware the Sunday League player who likes a post-match pint or 10 - but they feel ultra-professional and it is impossible not to feel like having a kick-about once you have shoehorned yourself inside - and you can't really ask for much more than that from a replica football shirt, can you?