The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and sports kits manufacturing company NIKE have concluded arrangements to redesign the national team jerseys, Mohammed Sanusi, the NFF General Secretary, said on Monday.
Sanusi said in Abuja that NIKE would supply newly-designed jerseys to the national teams later this year.
He said the national teams had a single design jersey under the new contract with NIKE because the company gave NFF only what it had left in stock last year.
“The NIKE contract which was signed in 2015 is going to be more operational in 2016.
“In 2015, they made us to understand that there were no kits and, instead of us going to the market to buy, we decided to manage what they had in stock, which was better for us at that moment.
“But for 2016, NIKE has come up with new designs which are beautiful and attractive, better than what we used for our matches in 2015. “But, from what they told us, we will get the new designs in large quantity this year.
“I want to assure that what NIKE has in stock for Nigeria this year will be far better than what we had last year. “ This is because we will have new designs now, which we will be using from this year,’’ the NFF General Secretary said.
Sanusi, who did not mention when the consignment would arrive in the country, urged Nigerians to appreciate NIKE for partnering with the NFF when Adidas failed to renew its partnership. He regretted the negative reports the contract generated, saying the situation was blown out of proportion.
The NFF official said the negative media reports about the contract almost led to NIKE’s withdrawal from the partnership. “The NIKE contract issue has been over blown, to the extent it almost pushed the company away from the country. This is not good.
“As Nigerians, we should not be talking about the contract in a negative way because if we push them away from Nigeria, it means we will have to buy jerseys from the market,’’ he said.
NAN reports that NIKE, in a letter sent to the NFF, had expressed its intention to review the partnership in January.
It had requested the NFF to furnish it information on the need to strengthen the partnership. NAN reports that the contract between NFF and NIKE was described by some football stakeholders as a “slave contract’’ as it did not come with retainers fees.
Since the deal was sealed by both parties, the country’s national teams have witnessed a shortage of training and match kits. In international matches played, Nigerian players were unable to exchange jerseys with opponents due to the short supply of the jerseys.
NAN recalls that the national under-23 male team to the 2015 African Games in Congo was reported to have used only one set of jerseys.
This was said to have led to team officials washing them after each match, ahead of the next game. NAN reports that NFF signed the new partnership deal with NIKE to run from April 1, 2015 to 2018 after the expiration of the deal with Adidas.
The NIKE deal is worth $750,000 in the first year, with NIKE supplying kits worth $1 million to Nigeria in the year 2017 and 2018. The partnership was expected to see the American sports brand design and develop football kits for both the country’s male and female national football teams until 2018.