Orlando Pirates and adidas have gone back to their roots with a retro-inspired off-field jersey and collection that features adidas’ Originals logo. As well as that 90s throwback, the jersey is also branded with the logo of the Zodwa Khoza Foundation, further extending this long-standing Pirates and adidas partnership to the grassroots levels.
Zodwa Khoza was the former brand manager of South Africa’s Orlando Pirates Football Club who passed away in 2006. But her legacy lives on through the Zodwa Khoza Foundation (ZKF), a Non-Profit company which was founded in 2011 with the aim of creating opportunities through sports, entrepreneurship and skills development for the marginalised youths and women in the local community. There has always remained a strong tie between the foundation and the Orlando Pirates, and now that relationship is celebrated in conjunction with adidas, with the launch of this retro-infused jersey.
The last time the Originals logo was used on-field in South Africa was in 1997, a time when Zo Khoza’s influence was at its height. Its return on the ZKF jersey is therefore fitting now, lending the wider OP x Originals ZPF collection, which is bolstered by a full tracksuit and a supporters’ t-shirt, an even deeper meaning. In addition to the collection, adidas has committed to investing R5 million in the Foundation over the next five years. The infrastructure development at the ZK Foundation in Diepkloof, Soweto has started with improvements to the ‘çlubhouse’ and the sports fields. The development is a work in progress.
“For the first time, adidas is publicly highlighting the partnership with the ZK Foundation,” explained Thandi Merafe, Media Officer, Orlando Pirates Football Club. “Along with other partners, the Foundation aims to train youngsters – boys and girls alike – who show sporting promise.
“In the late ‘90’s Zodwa Khoza had the ability to connect with the team, in addition to working with the players she always wanted more for the community and it’s this spirit that we are now celebrating. This jersey commemorates Zodwa’s big heart.”
Bob Maphosa, Football Sports Marketing and PR Manager, Emerging Marketing South for adidas, says that the jersey is steeped in emotion and history, and takes him right back to 1997 when Orlando Pirates won the Bobsave Superbowl. “This was a major milestone in our fans’ incredible journey with the team. Today, the nostalgia is real, but the best part is that together with OP we’ll be making a meaningful difference in the lives of our youth.”