If the World Cup was about fashion, Nigeria’s Super Eagles would be the champions.
As the national soccer team prepares for its sixth cup appearance—the most by an African country—it is already turning heads with its fashion. While most teams have landed in Russia wearing suits, the Nigerians showed up decked out in local traditional attire and broke the internet—again.
In February, Nigeria showed they were doing things differently, launching kits and tracksuits that quickly became global hits. The kit has been named the best at the World Cup in several polls, including UK broadcaster Sky. Last week, they sold out online less than three hours after release. Long queues of eager fans also popped up outside Nike’s Oxford Street store in London. The jerseys have become a hot item on secondary markets, selling online for more than double the official retail price. Locally, demand has been so high, bootleg versions have become a lucrative trade.
The attention to detail around Nigeria’s preparation for a major sports event is a bit of a departure. In 2016, Nigeria’s Olympic soccer team arrived in Brazil on the day of their first game, following a logistics mixup. Official kits for some athletes at the Games landed only two days before the opening ceremony.
Besides the cool outfits, Nigerian soccer fans have good reason to be excited about the World Cup. The Super Eagles topped a difficult group in qualifying and will field the youngest team in the tournament.
All that’s left now is looking just as sharp on the pitch as they have off it.