We are officially minutes away from the 2018 World Cup, which will kick-off with the Opening Ceremony at 3:30pm, that is exactly thirty minutes before the opening game between host country Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. I am super-excited for the long awaited World Cup tournament, but it is mostly because Nigeria is among the 32 football teams battling for the World Cup. What a time to be Nigerian!

The Super Eagles do not have their first match until Saturday, against Croatia, but we still are rooting seriously for them to make it all the way…at least i am! They are already one of the most talked about teams in this years World Cup, the Super Eagles are already flying high. They broke the records and tabloids for having the best looking sport gear of all the the teams Nike produced this year, in fact VOGUE rated them amongst their picks for Most Stylish (Read Here). They say “We like it because Nigeria has become a clear winner with its viral soccer jersey. It’s easy to see why: the snazzy green print is inspired by the team’s name, the Super Eagles”.

When a World Cup kit looks this good, it becomes iconic. For the very first time in the history of Nigeria, the Super Eagles Jersey went viral with its demand and sales. Nike reportedly were grossly overwhelmed by the demand for the Jersey from Nigerians and  neutral fans from all across the globe. A reported 3 million pre-orders before the official release date on the 11th of June and a street-long line of highly anticipated fans stormed Oxford Street on its actual release day. What happened this time around? How did Nike manage to turn the Nigerian Jersey into a global Phenomenon.

When asked directly, Nike FC’s Design Director Pete Hoppins said “With the Nigeria kit and collection, what we wanted to do is take a team who there is less expectations on from the media in terms of both field performance and kit design. There is less pressure to not mess with the kit than, say, England. While no one expects Nigeria to challenge for the World Cup (well sorry i do), we felt that there’s something going on with Nigeria as a young team. There’s a confidence in all these young players, they’re going to go for it and we were attracted to that. We’ve been following them from afar, and the players on social media…a lot of them are playing in some of the top clubs in Europe, and there’s that boldness that aligns in Nigeria and Lagos and in London. We thought that there’s something in here to do something different”.

The jersey itself was designed by Mathew Wolf, a graphic designer, currently working at Nike in New York City. He was inspired by the classic 1994 kit with the eagle wings. He was responsible for designing all on-pitch apparel (full home and away kits, pre-match top and training pieces) along side the Nike Global Football team — in particular, the Operation Naija squad: Dan Farron, Rebecca Aleman, and Michael Vorel.

  @wolffmatt

The 2018 home kit features the traditional green torso, with the Super Eagles-inspired black-and-white sleeves. To modernize the jersey, the feather pattern has been abstracted, and the colors updated, for a bold look on-pitch. Alex Iwobi says “They’re gonna know Nigeria have arrived.”

The Away kit design is taken from the first flag of an independent Nigeria, the color green is a long-standing symbol of the nation. While it has typically been used on the home strips, the 2018 season sees the traditional color applied to the away kit. A new badge features a resurrection of the design worn by the gold medal-winning “Dream Team” of 1996, in a single, brighter green for a clean aesthetic.

Photo Credits; Mathew Wolff

Good luck to Team Nigeria, whatever happens…Make us Proud!

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