Dear NFF Please #BringbackourNationalJersey

By Aderonke Bello

The Green white green jersey is our national colour, proudly adorned by any player representing Nigeria in any of the sports categories recognised and registered under the National Sports commission. It is very important as it depicts a lot about the Nigerian image.

It is questionable and so confusing to know that the NFF is short of jerseys despite a well broadcasted report about the NIKE deal which was said to have been brokered in the United Kingdom.

The questions here is this, what kind of contract did the NFF sign with Nike which led to the shortage of jerseys for all the National team players.

A super falcons player once posted on her facebook page to complain about the shortage of jerseys during the last world cup that took place in Canada – a post she was later advised to delete from her wall for fear of stigmatization.

The U-17 players were also reported to have gone to the world cup with only a pair of jersey due to the shortaage of the National jerseys – some were even reported to have opted for a fairly used Nike jersey to complement the so-called deal.

Samson Siasia once told Brila FM: “It took me so much courage to come out with this, but it is embarrassing. We don’t have training kits up till now, we wash and wear.

It is no longer news that the NIKE jersey is now called “wash and wear” by Nigerians due to the fact the players had to hurriedly wash and wear their jersey at tournaments because they were only given a pair of jersey each for tournaments.

“Let me tell you more, we were only given a pair of jersey, they don’t have jersey, during training before we traveled we have to buy USED Nike clothes with our own money to train, they didn’t give us training kits they said they don’t have training kits, we are not happy about this.

“Let me surprise you more we also lied to other teams, each time after the matches whenever they reach out to exchange jerseys we couldn’t give them, we only say to them we are coming to run away or ignore them because we only have a pair each, it was not an easy task for us, but we won on empty stomach, this is modern slavery.” one of the victorious U-17 players told naijcom

The questions remain; what has gone wrong with the well reported deal? and why are we suffering with the shortages of jersey? I think by now we should have these NIKE jersey in stores across the world for the esteemed fans to buy and adorn.

But, players do not have access to them, not to talk of fellow citizens, what is the way forward? #BringbackourNationalJersey.

The NFF are yet to explain what went wrong with the NIKE deal.

They signed a deal with the African Representative of the sportswear maker without a single NFF administrative staff but a member of the Marketing committee how come? This is surely not the way to legitimately broker a National deal.

I cannot blame them so much, as far as I know the marketing department of the NFF has collapsed hence the lack of funds in their coffers – if not, they ought to have gone all out to negotiate a far better deal and make some cool cash for the Federation in the process.

NFF signed a kit partnership deal with NIKE, purported to run between April 1, 2015 and April 1, 2018. The partnership deal is yet to produce good results for Nigerian football.

However, it is claimed that Nigeria is supposed to be supplied with kits worth a total amount of $750,000 kit, unfortunately we have not seen any kit worth $200,000 in Nigeria in any shape or form.

Furthermore, we can only get a million dollars worth kit from the year 2017 and 2018 as stated in the contract, how are we sure we will get the amount when we have been unable to get half of the 750,000 usd worth.

Irrespective, there are recent speculations making the rounds that NIKE wants to review their contract because the team keeps dwindling in the FIFA rankings and they want to be recognised with top teams – well it is synonymous with any smart businessman especially an international brand with an image to protect, a claim denied – as usual by the NFF.

When Adidas kitted the national team, Nigeria got two million euros worth of jersey and 800,000 euros retainership while the partnership lasted.

We also had all the required jerseys including training kit for goalkeepers and even smaller jerseys for children.

Nike deal was signed with ZERO retainership – what happened?

After this opinion, I will expect them to write as usual and deny that the teams have enough jersey, but we all know it is false and lip service. Propaganda cannot help football, it is ridiculous, unprofessional and uncalled for.

Please do something and save us from the shame, enough is enough.

Please bring back our national jersey, and see this as me calling you out on behalf of the 170million nigerians passionate about the number one sport in Nigeria – football.

“We are comfortable with the contract, because NIKE came across during the negotiations as being fluid and ready to listen to our demands. That is always the key aspect; you always need a partner with a listening ear.

“Nigeria football is happy to associate with a global leader and I am much convinced this is just the beginning. As we go along, NIKE may also be willing to partner with some of our domestic clubs and even the League Management Company.” NFF President, Amaju Pinnick

With Warm Regards,
Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello
Twitter: @AderonkeW
Journalist, Speaker, Change Agent, Sports for development Enthusiast , Advocacy.

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