Matchprepared Benjaloud Youssouf 03.01.22 COM 🇰🇲 : CIV 🇨🇮 (cancelled)
This Comoros shirt arrived just at the right time, because just a months ago, there wasn’t much I could have told you about Comorian football. Things have changed, A LOT, though.
The Comoros is an archipelago located between the African mainland and Madagascar. Depending on whom you ask, the country consists of three, respectively four, islands, with the contested island of Mayotte being a French overseas department. Of course, Comorians see things differently, so they put Mayotte on their football badge.
Up to 2022, Comorian football history was rather uneventful, with the country continuously ranking in the lower half of the FIFA table.
Named after a prehistoric fish once believed to be extinct, but then being rediscovered in Comorian waters, Les Coelacantes (The Coelacanths) started building their squad around mostly French-based players with Comorian heritage, in order to form a competitive team.
Leaving behind Kenya and Togo in their qualification group for the 2021/22 Africa Cup of Nations, the Comoros qualified arguably as the underdogs of the tournament. The Coelacanths started the tournament with two narrow losses against Gabon and Morocco, before shattering Ghana’s title aspirations by beating them 3-2. With three points earned, the Comoros were among the best four third-placed teams, thus advancing to the round of 16 and writing yet another piece of Comorian football history.
Meanwhile, that whole pandemic continued to do its thing, affecting sporting events around the globe. The Comoros squad was hit pretty badly, causing them to lose all of their goalkeepers for the biggest game in the country’s history, where they would face the tournament’s host Cameroon. Foul play was suspected, as their third goalkeeper Ali Ahamada was tested negative before the game, yet, he wasn’t allowed to take the field by officials.
With no goalkeeper in their squad, left-back Chaker Alhadhur, with a height of just 1,71 meters, was chosen as make-shift solution. Since also many outfield players were tested positive for COVID-19, the Comoros could only play the match with seven substitutes.
While many people expected them to be battered by the “indomitable lions” of Cameroon, the Comoros put up an amazing fight and, despite conceiving a red card after just 7 minutes, almost managed to take the game into extra time. Although, Chaker Alhadhur evidently didn’t act like a trained goalkeeper, he kept his country in the game with some heroic saves, but eventually couldn't prevent the 2-1 defeat.
To commemorate the country’s first appearance at a big tournament, manufacturer Macron designed a special jersey, incorporating traditional Comorian patterns and symbols. While they were sold at Macron’s website in a limited quantity, I was only able to get the green home jersey in my size, as the white ones were already sold out. Luckily, not long after I had the chance to get this beautiful white design, which was prepared for midfielder Benjaloud Youssouf for a friendly game against Côte d’Ivoire, which was eventually cancelled.
The shirt features a golden collar symbolising Comorian marriage and traditional clothing, as well as "Chiromani" motifs to represent Comorian women and family. The half-moon and stars are obviously a representation of Islam and are also part of the country’s flag.
The phrase “Wassi wa Comori damou ndzima” on the back of the neck is a part of the national anthem, meaning “We Comorians are of one blood”.