MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) on Wednesday announced a new partnership with Spanish sportswear brand Kelme, which will be the new official outfitter of the Philippine Azkals.
The Azkals debuted their new kits in their FIFA World Cup/AFC Asian Cup qualifier against China last Tuesday morning, a 2-0 setback to the Asian powerhouse.
"We welcome this partnership with Kelme, which has a long and rich history of supporting football teams," PFF president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta said in a virtual press conference. "It's a huge honor for us as a federation, that our national team is outfitted by a respected brand known for its quality and distinct design."
"National team kits form a big part of the identity of the federation, and we're glad to have this simple yet elegant design," he added.
Kelme, founded in 1963 in Spain, is also the official outfitter of several high-profile football clubs including Deportivo Alavés, Levante, and Villareal. It also supplies kits to several Chinese football clubs.
According to PFF secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes, they were initially approached by Kelme during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Talks stalled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but they were able to get a deal done this year, "after a short but careful negotiation."
Kelme will provide kits to the Philippine Azkals, the Under-22 team, and the Under-23 team. The deal also includes an option to provide kits for the Philippine women's football team and the youth squads that are also under the PFF.
"I think that is the ideal set-up… I think it is important that our national teams have a common look," said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
The deal will run for two years though all stakeholders are optimistic that the partnership will continue beyond that timeframe.
The new kit has gotten good reviews from the Azkals themselves, with coach Scott Cooper saying that what they received "is excellent."
"From our perspective, we're extremely happy with what we got. It looks good," he said.
Replica kits are expected to be made available for fans, and Kelme is also open to extending its partnership not just to the PFF but also to the Philippines Football League.
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