Whenever you see those lists of the greatest football shirts of all time, the Mexico 98 shirt ranks somewhere near the top. In a tournament of great kits and cult players, it’s hard to find a more iconic jersey than this one, with its bold colours and eye-catching Aztec design. But while many others on those lists will be manufactured by the major brands like adidas and Nike, this one was made by little known Mexican brand ABA Sports. So who were they?

ABA Sport was founded by engineer Jorge Lankenau. In 1990 he purchased Liga MX side Club De Futbol Monterrey and immediately set about changing the club's identity on and off the field. At the time, the club's uniforms were manufactured by adidas, but when the contract with the German giants expired in 1990 he had the idea to go in house. His existing businesses included ABA Currency, ABA Motor and ABA Insurance. He would choose this moment to introduce ABA Sport to the portfolio.


aba sport club shirts


After the success of the Monterrey jerseys, within a couple of years they had added a second club - Chivas De Guadalajara. Not long after that Tigres, Atlas, Tecos, Morelia and Santos Laguna all followed suit.  

Shop Mexican Clubs here

With growing popularity with fans and a host of new club sides signed up, it was only a matter of time before they set their sights on the national side. While they were currently dressed by British manufacturer Umbro, Jorge made a successful bid to take on the mantle, winning the contract after the 1994 World Cup. 


Cult Kits | ABA Sport's First Mexico Shirt


The first design was a controversial one. Featuring a large ‘M’ design to the front of the shirt it went down to a mixed reception with the Mexican fans. Despite not being universally loved, the shirt certainly received the attention that ABA Sport needed to make its stamp on the shirt world. And instead of toning it down for their next design, they doubled down. Designer; Ignacio Villarreal was tasked with the job of creating the 1996 shirt that would see the team through qualifying and into the 1998 World Cup. His work would go down as one of the best football shirt designs of all time. 

Using the iconic Sun Stone design, the shirt represented the country's pre-Hispanic roots and fused the culture and history of the country in a shirt that was widely acclaimed both inside and outside of Mexico. To this day it’s one of the most sought after (and faked) jerseys of all time.

We sat down with current owner, Jorge to find out what happened to the brand after 1998 and why he has decided to reissue the jersey now, 25 years after it was originally produced.

 Cult Kits: So why now?

Jorge: It’s simply a response to the demand. The taste for vintage football shirts has grown massively in recent years both inside Mexico and also globally. With so many bad fake shirts being produced of this particular model, we thought it was finally time to bring back the authentic version, made to exactly the same specifications as the original. 


mexico aba sport 98 home shirt


You can buy the Mexico '98 Aba Sport long sleeved home reissue shirt here.

CK: So how close is it to the original, in terms of materials and production techniques?

Jorge: We actually produce two different versions. Firstly we have the version purchased and worn by the fans in the build up to the 1998 World Cup. This version was a slightly darker colour than the one worn in the tournament and it also had the distinctive ABA Sport watermark repeated throughout the jersey. Unfortunately back in 1998 FIFA prohibited the brand logo being repeated more than once on the shirt. Unfortunately for us, we had already made and sold thousands of these to fans. In the end we simply made a few small adjustments to the player shirt - the ABA Sport watermark was removed, the colours were slightly altered to a brighter tone of green and the Mexican flag was added to the sleeve. We decided to reissue both versions because in all honesty we love the fan version slightly more and so do many of the Mexican supporters.


mexico 98 home and away aba sport


CK: What happened to the brand after 1998 and are you still making football shirts for teams now?

Jorge: After 1998 the brand ran into some financial difficulties. In 1999 we lost the national team contract to fellow Mexican brand Garcis and the owners decided to wind down the football associated side of the business. However, we never stopped operating entirely. Since 1990 until today we have continued to produce uniforms across a host of different sports and professions however these have been much less high profile than football.

CK: Do you have any plans to get back into making shirts for clubs?

Jorge: We would love to however the football landscape is very different now. We have not closed the door completely to the possibility of a return. If at some point we could reach an agreement with a Mexican club then we would certainly be interested but it’s not happened yet.


aba sport mexico third shirt and venezuela


CK: What about future reissues - are there more in the works?

Jorge: Yes, we would love to go back through the catalogue of our previous designs and bring them back in the same way we did with the 98 kit. We actually have some really exciting ones in production so definitely watch this space!

We have managed to get our hands on these stunning official Mexico 1998 re-issue shirts and we will be stocking the coveted green and red third shirt in the coming months, as well as the above Venezuela shirt which we think is a stunner. They have all been officially produced by Mexican sportswear brand ABA Sport who have created them exclusively for Cult Kits, you won't find these anywhere else! Available in a limited quantity, once they're gone... they're gone!

These official reissues of the Mexico 1998 home shirt brings back the iconic style sported by legendary players like Blanco, Hernandez and Jorge Campos. Made to the same high standards as the originals, these shirts are available in a range of sizes so you can find the perfect fit. Shop iconic today!


aba sport mexico 98 home and away shirts

You can purchase the official ABA Sport Mexico 98 reissue shirts here

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