Thumbs Down for Cameroon's Sleeveless Shirts - 2002-03-08

International football's governing body, FIFA, says African and Olympic champion Cameroon cannot wear its unique, sleeveless shirts at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon wore the shirts for all their matches in winning the recent Nations Cup in Mali for a record-tying fourth time. FIFA spokesman Keith Cooper says the jerseys were rejected because in his words, "they're not shirts, they're vests." The sportswear company Puma designed the shirts especially for Cameroon's use in the sub-Saharan heat in Mali. Puma has come up with an alternative design for the World Cup, which FIFA says has been approved.

Reaction to Cameroon's sleeveless shirts during the Nations Cup in Mali was mixed. Some people did not like them, saying they made the Indomitable Lions look like a basketball team, and adding the shirts showed a lack of respect for fans and opponents. Other people, though, raved about the shirts, saying the players looked sexy in them.

The Indomitable Lions are the only African team to have reached the World Cup quarterfinals, doing so in Italy in 1990. At the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Cameroon will be grouped with Ireland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

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