Constant Omari Selemani visited Strabane on Monday of this week to visit the factory where the jerseys are made for the Democratic Republic of the Congo national football team – the Congolese Leopards.
“My objective is to visit our partner and thank them for our partnership… to have a meeting for evaluation and to see and to visit the factory,” Mr Omari told the Strabane Chronicle on Monday.
“We also discussed the future and the possibility of development of a new product and a new project. Those are the main reasons for this visit.”
As well as being the president of la Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association (FECOFA), Mr Omari is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee. In September 2015, he was appointed as the chairman of FIFA’s Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination.
“I think that it is very professional,” he said, referring to O’Neill’s. “There is a big difference between this factory and other factories that I have visited before. Here it is better because they produce all of the materials in the same place.
“The most important thing is the production. This takes a short time.
“I think we have very nice partnership.”
O’Neill’s partnership with the Leopards came about last year, prior to the team’s participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.
DR Congo have been ranked as high as 51 in the FIFA Rankings. As Zaire they were the first Sub-Saharan African team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup and have twice won the Africa Cup of Nations.
This year the team won African Nations Championship (CHAN) for a second time in February, beating Mali 3-0 in the final.
Mr Omari continued, “We won the championship in February in Rwanda and now we are playing in the Africa Cup of Nations… we are the leaders in the group also.
“We have to qualify for the next finals in Gabon. In September we start the World Cup qualification. It’s our objective to quality but we can’t talk about that just now. We go, step by step.”
Commenting on the visit managing director at O’Neill’s Kieran Kennedy said, “We were delighted to host Constant Omari Selemani, and provide the opportunity for him to see at first hand the production process for the Democratic Republic of Congo international team kit. The visit was a unique opportunity to build on our relationship and showcase some of the latest innovations in sports kit manufacturing being rolled out by O’Neills. Mr Selemani was very impressed with our facilities and remarked that this was his first time to visit a sportswear production facility where the fabric was knit, cut, printed and sewn in the same factory.”