After enjoying a stellar qualifying stage and topping their group in the process, Canada secured a spot at the upcoming World Cup.
Led from the front by a young crop of mesmeric talent, the Maple Leaves ended an anxious 36-year-long wait, as their last appearance on football’s biggest stage was back in 1986.
Admittedly, there weren’t many who believed in the Class of 2022’s capabilities, and as it turns out Nike didn’t either.
The American sportswear brand, who’s been on a hot streak of disappointing fanbases, recently released all their kits for Qatar, with Canada being a noteworthy absentee.
Unfortunately, the Canucks have been caught in Nike’s strafe, and by the looks of it, they’ve been let down the most.
Instead of showing off Canada’s fresh WC threads, all Nike offered to Les Rogues fans was a tame statement, ‘The 2022 Canada kit will be the same the team has worn throughout the past year, as Canada Soccer is on a different kit development cycle.’
Naturally, fans were incensed.
After making a long-awaited return to the big stage, not having a potentially Iconic kit to fit the occasion has got to sting.
The players themselves were left surprised, and they didn’t hold back in expressing their displeasure.
The first to come forward was Sam Adekugbe who commented on the situation to The Athletic, ‘I’m not a fan of it, to be honest, I just feel like every team should get a new kit for the World Cup because it’s a symbolic event. I don’t hate it, but I would have liked to have gotten a new kit, just because it’s something to cherish.’
His compatriot Jonathan David opted for a far more direct approach as he covered the Nike logo in protest after scoring for the national team recently.
The move was met by applause from the Canadian bench, which reflects exactly what the locker room thinks about the situation.
While it’s fairly easy to pin the blame on the sponsors, some of it has to go to the federation itself.
Kits usually have a production cycle of around 18 months, meaning that plans for the World Cup kit should’ve commenced in 2021 itself.
Yet, the male team are stuck with the same look, while the female side received a fresh kit for the 2019 World Cup.
It looks to be an apparent case of mismanagement, and perhaps a lack of faith in the men’s team.
This sentiment is already present amongst the players, as Adekugbe relayed it as well,’ I think that just shows that no one really believed in us, I don’t think Canada believed. But the only person who really believed was (coach John Herdman), and the group that was around.’
Needless to say, this is an awful look for the federation.
Still, looming questions persist around Nike, after all, they were caught unprepared.
The brand has had a howler of a WC promotional campaign so far, and it wouldn’t be premature to say that it could get even worse.