“The smartest thing about Nigeria in the 1st half was their kit”, the words that echoed from the English commentator Clive Allen at the beginning of the 2nd half in Nigeria’s friendly against England on Saturday evening.

The truth is we have a very dope kit, and by popular opinion the best amongst the whole 32 teams playing at the upcoming World Cup in Russia. The Nigerian kit was voted the best according to a Sky Sports poll with 40,000 votes on Twitter.

The kit manufacturer Nike went back to the drawing board by adopting the classic 1994 World Cup jersey with a combination of the afro – culture vibes to create a sizzling and unique kit that reverberates Nigeria’s culture.

The marketing and official launch of the kit was a step-up from the previous years with the involvement of pop culture acts like Wizkid, Not3s, Big Tobz, Julie Adenuga, and other popular Nigerian/UK acts. It also included Super Eagles stars like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Ihenacho, and Wilfred Ndidi to give the ceremony much needed gloss.

It is therefore not far-fetched to trace the celebrity frenzy with the new kit, more so with Nike’s decision to involve entertainment stars in its official launch party. However, the excitement isn’t just limited to celebrities alone but also the general public. One can make the argument that Nike got a substantial part of their marketing done by the celebrities that participated in the launch party.

The frenzy wasn’t just limited to the celebrities alone; the streets were soon flooded with the ‘new jersey’ in Nigeria which prompted Nike to release a statement that they had not released the Nigerian kit for sale – SHOCKER.

Unsurprisingly, the Aba boys had performed their service to the nation by duly and promptly manufacturing the Nigerian jersey. Despite the adulteration and pollution of the market, Nike stated that they received a record three million pre-orders for the colourful kit and it sold out online in just THREE MINUTES?!

The home jersey is priced at $90 which is about ₦32,000 minus shipping cost. How many Nigerians at home can afford that amount to spare on a jersey? Despite the good intentions of many folks to support the National team – it isn’t economically prudent for the average Nigerian to incur such cost.

Some Nigerians will argue that the Aba boys have done a service to the nation by replicating the kit and selling it cheaper especially in a country where the minimum wage is a meagre ₦18,000. Nike, however, did not really factor average Nigerians at home in its product positioning. The target audience was majorly Nigerians in the diaspora and upper-class average income earners and above in Nigeria, a strategy that has proved to be a resounding success.

The new Nike jersey is a huge win for Nigeria, and it has created much-needed frenzy and hype leading up to the World Cup, we sure hope the National team delivers to put the cherry on the cake.

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