The star-studded Ivorian squad is a victim of its aspirations, as it has the best artillery on paper but they now have a reputation for choking when expectations are at their highest.
With the Elephants going out in the knockout stages yet again, this time at the hands of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, I couldn’t help but feel their choking has everything to do with their orange kit.
In the 2012 Afcon final they went down to Zambia in the final after a dreaded penalty shootout and in the 2013 tournament they crashed out in the quarterfinals. What colour where they wearing on those match days? You guessed right, it was orange.
Ironically the 2012 Afcon champions, Chipolopolo, also traditionally use orange as their colours but when they beat Ivory Coast in the final they wore their green kit with the Ivorians again wearing orange.
Like the Ivorians, Holland play an exciting brand of football but have also cemented their place in the Hall of Fame of the greatest chokers. In the 2010 Fifa World Cup they were tipped as favourites against Spain but, in their orange kit, fell flat when it mattered the most.
Even the Indians tried to copy the colour idea for their cricket team but struggled to rekindle the form that had led them to win the ICC World Cup and they eventually ditched the colours.
The colour orange takes its name from the orange, a citrus fruit, and, despite the Ivorians’ mouthwatering lineup, they still can’t get gold. In ancient Egypt, artists used an orange mineral pigment called realgar for tomb paintings.
In Europe and America, orange is commonly associated with amusement, the unconventional, extroverts, activity, danger, taste and aroma, the autumn season and Protestantism.
The Ivorians will amuse you with their unconventional style of play, which has great aroma of skill but they always turn into the autumn of football and fall as dead leaves, causing a lack of oxygen all over Abidjan.
It’s never too late to change colours. Maybe it will also change the Elephants’ fortunes in terms of silverware in the cabinet. Brazil’s first team colours were white with blue collars but, following defeat in the Maracana at the 1950 World Cup, the colours were criticised for lacking patriotism.
With permission from the Brazilian Sports Confederation, the newspaper Correio da Manha held a competition to design a kit incorporating the four colours of the Brazilian flag. The winning design was a yellow jersey with green trim and blue shorts with white trim drawn by Aldyr Garcia Schlee, a nineteen-year-old from Pelotas.
The new colours were first used in March 1954 in a match against Chile and have been used ever since, leading them to five World Cup titles in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002