The new Nigeria home kit to be worn at the World Cup 2018 in Russia was sold out minutes after its release on Friday morning as hundreds of fans queued outside London’s Niketown store in Oxford Street, their eye-catching kit that has captured the public’s imagination. Orders have already been placed for 3 million replica shirts. And the demand is so high that the kit sold out in minutes and is now unavailable to buy on the Nike website. Nigeria may not be favorites for the World Cup, but they seem to have won fans over with their new kit for Russia.

The kit, modeled by Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi amongst others, has been hailed as the best kit of all of those to be seen in Russia this summer, with Nike having to push the release date back earlier this week due to such high demand. The home and away shirts, priced at £64.95, were sold out on the sportswear giant’s website soon after they were released. The training kit, which has a similar design to the home kit, two different types of training jackets and floral joggers were sold out as well. The makers describe the home kit as a “subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt, with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso”. The away kit was a longstanding symbol of a nation that could boast of having “the world’s most expressive team,” the makers added.

In Nigeria itself, the demand for the shirt before its release resulted in copycat kits appearing in Lagos markets last week. “Right now in Nigeria, the jersey is one of the best, and I am happy selling it,” one market trader in the capital told the BBC. “Nike has not officially started selling, that’s for sure. But it’s not a top-notch quality like the one you can get from the Nike shop. When you know the prices also you cannot compare with it.” Some people took the opportunity to launch their own products which were variants of the kit.

The country is hoping that the shirt, with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso, will help propel them to victory in their third consecutive World Cup. Nigeria’s “underdog” football squad need to play together and not as individuals, captain John Mikel Obi said, with the team acknowledging they face a tough group stage at the World Cup in Russia next month against Argentina, Croatia, and Iceland. “We have to make sure we play together as a team which is the most important thing; no individual players,” Obi told a media conference on Friday. “No need to think that we are favorites, we’re still underdogs, so we have to go as underdogs in this World Cup and hopefully we can get good results,” he said.

However, with other Premier League stars representing the West African nation, including Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Chelsea’s Victor Moses, the hosts will have to keep their eye on the ball, and of their opponents’ kit. The kit was deliberately one of the last released for the World Cup, with the Nigeria Football Federation attempting to avoid the spread of fake replicas throughout the country.

The kit was seen in action for the first time yesterday in a friendly against England, which Nigeria lost 2-1.


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