The Nigerian national team and Nike have over the years formed an incredible partnership that has resulted in some iconic football kits. The sports brand began working with the team as early as 1996 and produced fresh designs that impressed fans during then.
But the Nigerian federation (NFF) choose to break this team-up and switch to Adidas for a 10-year spell from 2004 to 2014, a period during which Nigerian kits failed to entice supporters due to the basic nature of the designs. Perhaps the lowest point came in 2006 when the Super Eagles home kit was simply a 2006 Germany kit done in green.
Owing to these poor results, the winning formula was once again restored in 2015 as Nike once again became the principal kit designer for the side. Moreover, three years on since this partnership was re-formed, Nike produced one of the most iconic shirts perhaps in football history for Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia.
The design featured a flamboyant combination of a printed lime green shirt with black and white patterned sleeves.
The three-time AFCON winners once again received an eye-catchy kit in 2020 that reworked a similarly experimental design which too impressed numerous supporters.
Following these exceptional results, Nigeria and Nike were once again expected to deliver a superior home kit for their games for the upcoming year. While Nike has once again decided to adorn the shirt with a flashy print as done for the previous two kits, it appears the latest end product has not won over the approval of football fans.
As per leaks, the 2022 Nigeria home kit features a chaotic design that seems to adhere to none of the traditional rules of crafting a jersey design.
Much like the preceding designs, Nike has once again gone for a printed pattern combining shades of green, black and white. But while the former two kits had clearly demarcated uses of these colours such as black and white for the arms sleeves to contrast the green torso, this new kit is a jumbled goulash of colours and patterns.
The only traditional designs that appear on the kit would be the Nike logo and the NFF badge on either side of the front. The rest of the kit features a variety of patterns such as checks, spots, stripes and even certain animal caricatures on the sleeves.
While Nike were heavily praised for pushing the boundaries of kit designs for their past efforts, it seems the designer has certainly gone too far with this Nigeria kit. Naturally, this has not been received well by supporters who have compared the kit’s design to resemble the Covid-19 virus graphic.
Although Nigeria failed to get out of the group stage during the 2018 World Cup, those sets of players have been remembered fondly by supporters thanks to the unique home kit. But as the nation has failed to produce an attractive kit and also qualify for the upcoming World Cup, the Super Eagles would surely be missed on all fronts in Qatar.