SRI LANKA

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Matchworn Mohamed Rifnas (various games in 2015)

Manufacturer: Grand Sport

Source: Collector

 

THE TEAM

The Asian island nation of Sri Lanka shares the same problem as their brothers from the Indian subcontinent: with a rather large population, they haven’t been able to put together a half decent football team. Currently placed 207th in the FIFA rankings, Sri Lanka is even among the four worst national teams in the world! In 2019 they managed to beat Macau and progress to the 2022 World Cup qualifiers where they lost all of their games.

To their defense, football is only the third most popular sport in Sri Lanka, behind cricket and rugby.


THE SHIRT

Being a populous country and a popular holiday destination, one might think that it’s easy to get hold of a Sri Lanka jersey. Think again! Sri Lanka shirts are among the most difficult national shirts to obtain and might be the rarest shirts in the AFC.

I was extremely happy when I managed to get my hands on a replica shirt years ago, which did not keep me from chasing a matchworn shirt, however. After unsuccessfully messaging about every person that ever set foot into Sri Lanka’s football federation, I finally came into contact with a former player, who sold me a couple of match shirts from him and his teammates.

Made by Thai manufacturer “Grand Sport”, Sri Lanka’s 2015 shirts have quite a unique and iconic look: kept in Sri Lanka’s national colors, yellow and brown, the shirt features a stylized lion on the right shoulder as well diagonal pinstripes across the front. It was used from 2015 to 2021, making it one (if not “the”) longest used international football shirt in recent years.

Mohamed Rifnas during a game against Afghanistan in 2015.

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