Fake Nigeria World Cup jerseys sales soar as fans dare to dream
The Nigeria Super Eagles jersey for the 2018 World Cup in Russia has been hugely popular, both at home and abroad.
In Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, the question isn’t whether you’re going to buy the neon green and white zig-zag jersey of the national football team, it’s how much you want to pay.
It seems there’s a replica top to suit all pockets in the bustling markets, which also do a thriving trade in everything from fake Gucci swimming trunks to Kanye West Yeezy sneakers.
Pricey Nike original vs affordable Lagos replica
The official Super Eagles jersey is priced at $85 at the Nike store.
But one Lagos market trader said he sells jerseys shipped from Thailand for 17,000 naira ($47, 40 euros), and demand is huge.
“The ones I sell here are the highest quality in the market,” he told AFP. “By 2:00 pm I’ll get another 1,000 pieces, by the weekend it will be gone.”
The monthly minimum wage in Nigeria is set at 18,000 naira, making even that price too high for many people.
Another vendor who imports his jerseys from China has cheaper options. “We have quality and we have lowest quality,” he said.
“The quality one you can even buy it (for) 5,000 naira, the lowest quality is 3,000 or 2,500 ($7, 6 euros).”
Nigeria’s Stylish swagger
Nigeria’s new kit has been a major talking point in the run up to the World Cup finals, which began in Russia on Thursday.
Nike’s flagship London store was stripped of its Nigeria stock within minutes of it going on sale for the first time earlier this month.
But it’s not just the jerseys that have made Nigeria the fashion darlings of the tournament.
When the team arrived in Russia this week, they stepped off the plane dressed in an all-white traditional outfit with embroidered green wings spread across the chest.
The look was completed with a white fedora decorated with an emerald green ribbon and matching feather and white shoes with green tassles.
Nigeria, the youngest team of the tournament, carried off the look with aplomb, prompting fans around the world to vote them as the most stylish team in several polls.
Nike designer sought to capture ‘swagger’
It’s exactly that youthful swagger that Nike design director Pete Hoppins was hoping to reflect in the jersey.
“There’s a confidence in all these young players, they’re going to go for it and we were attracted to that,” he told Fader magazine in an interview this month.
“A lot of them are playing in some of the top clubs in Europe and there’s that boldness.”
Nigeria open their World Cup campaign against Croatia on Saturday and fans will be hoping that they are as swaggerific on the pitch as they have been off it.