Hours after the Nigeria Football Federation and its partner, Nike, on Wednesday unveiled the kit Super Eagles will wear at the 2018 World Cup, British newspaper, Daily Mirror, ranked it top among the 19 kits so far unveiled across the world for the Mundial in Russia this June.
That has set Nigerian fans excited! Why? The best Super Eagles kit at a World Cup was worn by the side that impressed the most since Nigeria qualified for its first World Cup in 1994, while the worst performance in Nigeria’s past five appearances was by the side that many fans believed wore the worst jersey.
A coincidence? Or is there correlation between kit quality and team performance?
After a Nigerian journalist, Andrew Randa, posted some designs he thought would be great for the Eagles last year, Nike came under intense pressure to come up with a design that would not just be one of Nike’s traditional designs but one created specifically for the Super Eagles. On Wednesday, Nigerian football fans got the result.
While many on various social media platforms were ecstatic about the new designs, some wondered what part of the Nigerian green-white-green flag was represented in the jerseys.
The Daily Mirror ranked the 19 jerseys already released for the FIFA 2018 World Cup and Nigeria’s asymmetrical design came out tops.
This was against others from England, Russia, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Egypt, Croatia, Brazil, Germany, Peru, Spain, Japan, Belgium, and Colombia. The conclusion was, “And while you’re there, pick up this glorious effort from Nigeria that comes out as a deserving No. 1.
“It’s incredible, frankly, and is bound to turn us all into Super Eagles in the summer.”
Out of the 19 kits already revealed, Nike was responsible for six – Nigeria, England, Brazil, Croatia, Portugal, and France.
Nigeria and World Cup jerseys
In 1994, the team led by Stephen Keshi came out in Adidas kits that were unveiled at the Nations Cup, which the Eagles won. That particular jersey was adjudged as the best because it had no predecessor and the design has not been seen since. The Eagles then dazzled just as their jerseys were dazzling.
In 1998, it was a muted effort by Nike as the Eagles again qualified for the second round before been roundly beaten by Denmark.
In 2002 in the South Korea/Japan World Cup, the Eagles were a pale shadow of themselves and that was appropriately reflected in the Nike kit that was supposedly electric green but was, in fact, green washed so thin you did not know what to call it. That team in the five appearances at the Mundial is the worst till date. They scored just one goal in their three matches and came last in their group.
In 2010, the Eagles returned to the World Cup in simple Adidas jerseys and their displays were that – simple. The Eagles could not progress from a group comprising Argentina, Greece and South Korea, as Sani Kaita became the first Super Eagles’ player to be shown a straight red card at the tournament.
The late Keshi led the Super Eagles to the 2014 tournament in Brazil and there was some enthusiasm about the Adidas jerseys they sported. And just as the enthusiasm was, the team got to the second round to be eliminated by France.
Ahead of the 2018 Mundial
One of the closest people to the team, Tunde Adelakun, wrote on Twitter that the Eagles have to match the jersey quality, which has been rated highly. “@thenff @NGSuperEagles new World Cup kit has been ranked as number one in the power rankings of the 19 kits revealed so far. Impressive. Now we need to match it with results on the pitch.”
But Sola Aiyepeku believes it looks like something for kids.
“I do not like it. Looks razz with too many things and colours on it. In fact, it looks like something for kids.”
Adeyemi Adesanya, who talks sports on Radio, took us back to 20012 saying Nike always uses colours that are not Nigeria’s. “These are not our colours. Why does Nike always do this? They did the same in 2002 with their lemon green.
“Now that 2nd jersey looks like ‘Okrika’ [not well made] version of the ’95 Jersey. The 1st one is dark green; but what do I know; we have imbeciles at the helm who know nothing about branding.”
While Dumnodi Okonta of Channels TV said, “Well, I have my reservations because of the Lemon colour.”
Whatever your reaction to these new jerseys – will it preclude the fact that the Eagles will be as good as these new Nike offerings in Russia? Let us know what you think!