On Wednesday, Nike relinquished its most recent set of country kit culls for Korea, the United States, and Nigeria. Once again, the Nigerian designs have stood out.
According to a statement on Nike’s official website, the kits mesh “traditional aesthetic of an agbada robe with modern football design.”
The agbada robe is a popular loose-fitting piece of garment in Nigeria that is concretely popular among the Yorubas. It is worn on special and momentous occasions.
“The kit’s pattern was hand-drawn and is highly symbolic of Nigerian heritage with nods to nobility and family. Nigeria’s crest is placed centrally on the chest with a Swoosh underneath it,” Nike indited in a verbalization on their website. “The player names and numbers integrate the eagle feather into the application. ‘Naija’ appears inside the neck of jersey and on the back of the socks in a new way.”
Unlike the iconic ‘Naija’ kits that had the nation’s crest placed to the left, the incipient home shirts have the crest placed in the middle, and the Swoosh follows as well as the player’s number.
The jagged outlines of the previous kit still remain to an extent. But they are moved to the sides to make way for white space in the middle; making the shirt have a passing resemblance to the national flag.
“The away kit is inspired by Onaism, a traditional artistic kineticism central to Nigerian design and craft represented in the trim details,” according to Nike. “An eagle feather aesthetic, ingeniously distorted, perpetually repeats in ascending size to engender a visual impact. The collar has a remote V overlap with a thicker overlap in the back. Both the collar and the sleeves feature a marginal nick at the mid-point.”
Onaism is an artistic model of Yoruba civilization in cognation to Nigerian visual art. It gained prominence in the years afore Nigeria received independence from the British Imperium.
The word ‘Ona’ itself is a more astronomically immense representative of the Yoruba interpretation of art and all its derivatives including the stylistics of individual creators; the ascension of Onaism in the 1950s was regarded as an incipient dawn for Yoruba culture.
Perhaps taking influence from that incipient dawn of an archaic culture, the jerseys represent a new dawn for Nigerian football ecumenically. The newly released kits will make their debut during the qualifying campaigns for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2022 World Cup.
Nike stated that the kits were not the only football-cognate material they’d be relinquishing this year, fans would be able to purchase a vest, a dress or even a poncho with a Nigeria design.
It remains to be visually perceived how well the incipient Swoosh designs will be. 2018’s iconic jagged ones, modeled by Wizkid, had about three million pre-orders – a record for an African nation – and was adjudged the best kit at the 2018 Mundial in Russia.