The World Cup has not started yet and Nigeria has already won–for being the most stylish team in Russia. It started with the fan frenzy to buy the Nigeria-designed World Cup kit, which sold out globally the day it was released, with queues snaking round the block outside the Nike store on London’s Regent Street. Fans are talking about their stunning white and green ensemble set off with a matching hat, worn at a jaunty angle.
Nigeria’s Nike-designed kit was voted the best of the World Cup in several polls. International men’s magazine GQ also voted the Super Eagles strip top the best of all the 32 teams in Russia. The highly-sought after kit received three million pre-orders before its release, according to Nigerian Football Federation. Design director Peter Hopkins told Fader magazine that the Nigerian team’s confidence inspired him in his design for the kit which has bold neon green pattern that echoes the pattern of eagle wing feathers.
He said :“There’s a confidence in all these young players, they are going to go for it, and we were attracted to that.” We’ve been following them from afar, and the players on social media, and 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,” Hopkins added.
The kit has also been the subject of intense discussions in Nigeria where some people thought the football federation had missed opportunity to boost local manufacturing. One prominent politician said outsourcing the kits to be produced outside the country contradicted the Nigerian government’s plans to expand and encourage production of ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods. Senator Ben Bruce said the country could have made $100 million if the kit was made in Nigerian factories.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed the 2022 Qatar World Cup will take place from November 21 to December 18, which will be the first-ever winter tournament in the northern hemisphere. Infantino said FIFA decided on the date to avoid the extreme heat of Qatar in summer, which sees temperatures hit 40 C on a regular basis.
FIFA has scheduled the event for the end of the year despite scheduling conflicts for league clubs. FIFA expects domestic leagues will be able to adjust their schedules to accommodate the global event. “FIFA has yet to decide whether the tournament in Qatar will feature 32 or 48 teams,” Infantino added. “For now it’s a World Cup with 32 teams but everybody is open-minded, and we will have a frank and open debate.” “I will be happy if it stays at 32 teams as previously established. Qatar could insist on 32. But if everybody thinks it might be positive to change to 48 we can have a look. All options will be on the table.”