Nike has unveiled the brand new Nigeria national team kits, and they’re stunning.
After becoming the first African team to qualify through Alexi Iwobi’s strike versus Zambia back in October last year, the Nigerian team have embodied a supreme confidence that saw them also beat Argentina 4-2 in a friendly just a month after, in which Iwobi scored a hat-trick.
Contemporary Nigerian culture reverberates within diaspora communities in England, the United States and around the world. The combined energy has prompted a new designation for Nigeria itself: Naija – which is the name of Nike’s 2018 collection for the Nigeria National team.
Speaking about the qualifying goal, Iwobi told Nike, “I grew up in England, but Nigeria is my homeland. When I scored that goal, the players were dancing, the fans were playing trumpets and bringing drums…there was just so much passion and energy,”
“It is always an honor to wear the white and green. To compete this summer is not just our dream, it is also the dream of our fans. Together, we all represent Naija.”
“The word Naija has many uses. As a descriptor, it defines a certain future-focused optimism — one that has catalyzed a new generation of Nigerians to celebrate the nation’s vibrant culture. Use of the word requires attitude, even panache. It isn’t simply a stand-in for Nigeria; instead, Naija reflects a youthful exuberance, pride and fresh perspective on patriotism. To some, Naija translates directly to “the new Nigeria.” With boundless potential and an undoubtedly infectious palpable charisma, the squad begs fandom from anyone — interest in football notwithstanding. Nike’s energetic collection for the Nigeria Football Federation is imbued with the Naija spirit.”
The home kit pays subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt (worn by Nigeria’s first team to qualify) with a wavey, all-over feather pattern and fluorescent colourway, with eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso. It’s immediately eye-catching, and will undoubtedly be one of the best kits seen at this year’s world cup.
The away kit acts as a “yin/yang opposite” to the home kit, which drops in a classic green colourway that serves as a more cool, refined vision of the traditional Nigeria full-green strip.
The 2018 Nigeria Football Federation collection features Fast Fit Vaporknit kits to facilitate speed through performance and aesthetic.
The rest of the collection is just as outstanding. There’s a travel suit — a tonal green floral affair with significant swagger and accessories including bucket hats that radiate personality and designed to be mixed and matched to preference.
Iwobi is already a fan of the range, “When I first saw the new kit I was like, ‘Wow, this is sick! I need one now!” He’ll soon wear it while representing the Super Eagles, and, just as he’s known to do with his club kit, aims to wear it off pitch out and about. Until then, he’s kept it secret. “Of, course, I’ve been wearing it at home already,” he says.