Incredible Al Ahly concept kit takes inspiration from the pyramids

Residency Week 3 – Africa and Asia

Welcome back to Residency!

Our concept shirt world tour has seen us take in the delights of Africa, and the wonders of North and South America. Today, we’re travelling over to Asia via Cairo, Egypt. Many of the most vibrant, exciting shirt designs can be found in Asia, but will this be replicated in these city-edition concept kits from Cenk Ünal?

In a word, yes.

Al Ahly City Edition concept kit

Al Ahly city edition concept kit


I can’t get enough of this Al Ahly concept kit. Cenk has absolutely nailed this design, with a pattern and colour scheme that takes inspiration from the Great Pyramid of Giza and the ancient Egyptian god of the sun Ra.

As far as sources of inspiration go, it doesn’t get any more symbolic and iconic than that combination, but it’s the way those sources have been used which really stands out to me. The repeated pattern of course mimics the shape of the pyramid closely, but the way it repeats and flows with the various golden shades also gives the impression of diamonds throughout. It’s a gorgeous look.

The dark blue details, in reference to Ra, are the perfect choice. Everything else about the kit also adds to proceedings, including the various Umbro details, a classy collar and cuff design and the “Cairo” wordmark.

Gamba Osaka City Edition concept kit

Gamba Osaka city edition concept kit

This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

As we move from Africa to Asia, we stop off in Japan. I’m really glad Cenk has taken a look at a J-League team, and the Gamba Osaka kit here is a wonderful fusing of old and new ideas.

The zig-zag pattern is Gamba Osaka in many ways (their early 90s kits championed the look), so it’s a lot of fun to see it brought back in a more subtle, but no less impactful, way. From a colour scheme perspective, the club’s traditional blue and black colour scheme has been exchanged for a very deep (almost black) blue with neon pink accents.

This aesthetic references the night-life of Osaka, and like many of the kits in Residency it’s a great example of the freedom that can be found from a colour perspective with a City Edition shirt. It’s worth highlighting the cuff and collar design also. The alternating pink and purple gradient lines look incredible, and it’s typical of Cenk to introduce fresh approaches to kit details even after so many concepts. 

Persepolis F.C. City Edition concept kit

Persepolis FC city edition concept kit

I can’t claim to know a lot about Persepolis, but if they released a shirt this good they would well and truly be on my radar!

The two-tone red look is lovely, and there are references to both the Azadi stadium and the Azadi tower throughout the body of the shirt and the black shoulder and side panels. Perhaps the best detail is the “Tehran” script across the chest. It’s a heavily stylised look and I’m a big fan especially with the way it compliments the rest of the shirt colour wise.

Also, who else is really enjoying the amount of centralised crests in this series?

Shanghai SIPG City Edition concept kit

Shanghai SIPG city edition concept kit

We finish week 3 with a concept kit for Chinese team Shanghai SIPG, and despite the incredibly high standard of this week’s designs we might have saved the best ‘till last.

This shirt looks like it’s been transported from a different galaxy. An incredible dragon scale hoop pattern adorns the front, with one hoop “peeled back” to reveal a red interior. Most of the shirt is coloured in a series of steely greys, in reference to the statue outside the Shanghai Science & Technology museum, and it’s an inspired choice given the variety of intricate patterns and details.

How about that remixed Nike swoosh also? The design, on a patch no less, looks brilliant. It’s a bold look but that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m enjoying about this series. Cenk has a knack of introducing unexpected elements with great results. Finally in City Edition style, we see “Shanghai” on the chest, topping off what is a wonderful concept kit creation.

I need to go and lie down after that.

Next week is the big one. We’re finishing off Residency with European club kits for TWELVE teams! Yes, 12, a quadruple special. Of course, you can follow us on Twitter and Insta to see the kits as they drop.

Phil Delves

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