2018 World Cup: Why Super Eagles’ new jersey could mean ‘bad luck’ in Russia
When the Super Eagles file out for their first game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Croatia at Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad on June 16, 2018, they will be sporting new kits from sportswear manufacturer Nike.
The renowned American brand sealed the deal to kit Nigeria from April 1, 2015, until at least 2018, coming 13 years after it designed the Super Eagles’ jersey to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Nigeria will thus join other teams like Brazil, Portugal, Croatia, England, France, Australia, Poland, South Korea and Saudi Arabia to promote the global sportswear brand in Russia.
What fans are saying about the kits?
The new Nike kits have been largely welcomed by fans and stakeholders for their beauty and stylishness.
Former Eagles forward, Etim Esin, told that the new jersey reminds him of Nigeria’s kits to USA 94.
Esin said: “The new Nike jersey is unique and reminds me of the exploits of the Super Eagles at USA ’94.
“I like the design since it is coming from Nike and it will be top quality for the players to do their stuff in Russia.”
Not everyone agrees with Nike’s choice of the colours though. They insist that Nike got the colours wrong and this could affect Nigeria at the Mundial.
They see colour and design as playing additional roles in determining the final score line of a game.
To them, countries like Brazil’s Seleção, France’s Les Bleus and USA’s Yanks have, to a large extent, created a colour identity and tradition with their respective national team jerseys.
“Nigeria’s Super Eagles will be playing at Russia 2018 with the wrong colours. Despite all the noise about the new Eagles jersey, I don’t think the away colour is truly Nigerian. I had thought Nike would have given Nigeria the same tradition it has achieved with the likes of Brazil, USA, and France over the years,” explained a football fan, who simply wanted to be identified as Charlie Oscar.
But to many other Nigerians, the colour, design or manufacturer of a football jersey has little or no role to play when it comes to a team’s success or failure.
The big question on their lips is how well the national team can perform at the forthcoming World Cup with the new Nike kits.
Kits and cultural heritage
Despite the arguments for and against, eggheads at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Glasshouse are convinced that the new kits showcase the country’s rich cultural edge.
“A constant in Nigeria is an endearing love of football,” NFF president, Amaju Pinnick said during the unveiling of the new kits in London last week.
“When football is on, everything stops. The new Nike kit designs honour our federation’s rich traditions. Moreover, they celebrate everything we relish about our culture,” noted the NFF boss.
Pinnick’s position echoes that of kit manufacturers, Nike who noted that the new Eagles collection is imbued with the Naija spirit.
The manufactures maintained that “the home kit carries a familiar badge recoloured to honor the ’96 gold medal-winning “Dream Team” and tradition (as always, there’s a full green kit, though it’s now the away stripe rather than the home.
Nike Football Design Director, Dan Farron said: “With Nigeria, we wanted to tap into the attitude of the nation. We built this kit and collection based on the players’ full identities.
“We started to see trends in attitude and energy connecting the athletes to music, fashion and more.
“They are part of a resoundingly cool culture,” admitted Farron, who was head of the Nike Football design group that also had series of interactions with Eagles stars.