Kit review: Klabu, rebuilding lives through football kits

Football is priceless. When you connect sweetly with a volley, touch a ball down dead from 50m in the air, or lash a free kick into the top corner from 20 yards, nothing can compare. You see, football isn’t a game, it’s a lifestyle. It’s going to the park from dawn till dusk, sliding knee celebrations after a rain shower. It’s collecting Match Attax, imitating the best goals with your mates from the weekend.

It’s doing rock-paper-scissors over who has to jump over the fence to retrieve the ball, or bending over for stingers after heads and volleys. Football- and in a wider context, sport- is an essential learning curve for the character of the human being. It teaches you how to lose, how to win, how to make friends and, most importantly, how to have fun.

Unfortunately though, football is an exclusive party. Through various different reasons, many children, men and women across the world will never get the chance to kick a football- something so pure that it should almost be a human right. And Klabu is determined to make this a reality.

Founded in 2017, Klabu- translating simply to ‘club’ in Swahili – is an Amsterdam-based charity that aims to help rebuild lives by setting up sports schools in refugee camps. There are 25 million refugees worldwide, half of which are under 18, wasting their potential talent for the endeavours of surviving. Klabu’s goal is to set up 10 camps in 5 years, powering sports for 100,000 refugees across the globe. To fund this, the charity came up with something rather ingenious : football shirts.

The Klabu tee is special not just for the moral significance behind the shirt, but for the design itself. With a geometric turquoise-orange colour scheme, the 19/20 home shirt will lure in the eye of any customer. £60 isn’t cheap, yet for the cause, the quality of the fabric, and the authenticity of the design, it was worth every penny. The crest reads ‘Kalobeyei spirit’, depicting two giraffes locking necks. The Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya holds a unique place in the heart of the charity- it is the location of Klabu’s first ever camp. Measuring 15 square kilometres, the settlement primarily holds South Sudanese refugees after war broke out in South Sudan in 2013. Lilian- donning the purple and pink away shirt- is a spokeswoman for the settlement. “We are like you, we have dreams, we have goals we want to achieve in life. We are all human. Klabu is a chance for our voices to be heard.”

The shirt may be the coolest on the continent, and a welcome addition to any shirt collection on the planet, but that’s not what matters. It’s about children like Lilian. Children who’s voices are too often drowned out by gunshots and war cries, but through the positive power of sport and the Kalobeyei spirit can finally make themselves heard. “I want to be Messi, I want to be Ronaldo” enthuses a girl from Kalobeyei. Far-fetched ? Possibly. But, if given the chance, why not ?


Aesthetics: 8.8

Comfort: 9.1

Authenticity: 9.4

Rarity: 8.2

Retro ? : No.

Overall rating: 8.9