Kitting out for success

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However, the experts from Durham University and the University of Plymouth appear to be only half right as far as South Africa Absa Premiership is concerned.

The ‘colour’ experts say the fact that English clubs Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal regularly top league tables is not a coincidence.

South African teams wearing full red strip are Jomo Cosmos (placed 15th) and Free State Stars (4th). The kit worn by current log leaders, Ajax Cape Town, is red and white halved, while 7th placed Moroka Swallows wear maroon kit.

The Urban Warriors have had Cup competition success, Rothmans Cup in 2000 and Absa Cup in 2007, but have never won the League.

Ezenkosi last won the League 20 years ago, in 1987, although they have had Cup success on four occasions since, in 1990 (Bob Save), 2002 (Coca Cola Cup), 2003 (Supa8), and 2005 (Coca Cola Cup).

Ea Lla Koto’s only success in top flight was winning the 1994 edition of the Coca Cola Cup.

According to the overseas study, red shirts give the team an advantage due to deep-rooted biological response to the colour.

“In nature, red is often associated with male aggression and display,” they said.

“It is a testosterone-driven signal of male quality, and its striking effect has even been harnessed by soldiers in the past,” added the researchers, after analyzing data on English football league results since 1945.

They concentrated on home matches, because teams usually wear their main kit colour there. Curiously, the correlation between colour and success only happens when the teams are playing at home.

“The results were surprising,” they said, citing significant differences in success levels between red, white, blue and yellow/orange teams. Red teams won more often, while teams wearing yellow or orange had the worst record.

Professor Robert Barton from Plymouth said there were two possible reasons: the first being that, over time supporters may have been subconsciously more attracted to a club wearing red.

“Secondly, there may be a positive psychological boost from wearing red, or being associated with a red team, that is reflected on the field of play. Competing against a team in red could also impair performance,” he added.