Nike or Adidas? Super Eagles’ preference at AFCON 2023

Nike or Adidas? Super Eagles’ preference at AFCON 2023
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles will be donning the famous national colours, the green and white jersey of Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which comes up in less than three weeks.

In anticipation of AFCON 2023, Nigerian fans are excited that Nike has disclosed the new kits for the national senior football team, the Super Eagles.

Unveiling Super Eagles new kits by Nike

The home jersey features Nigeria’s traditional green and white colors, symbolically representing the national flag.

The away jersey blends with a white background enmeshed with green accents.

The distinctive design shows the creative genius of Victor Molokwu, an Abuja-based designer, whose concept integrated the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria, drawing inspiration from indigenous patterns and symbols prevalent in Nigeria.

Have a look at it below:

Adidas and Nike: Super Eagles kit journey over the years

Adidas became Nigeria’s kit sponsors from 1988 before severing ties after the 1994 AFCON in Tunisia as well as during Nigeria’s first ever appearance at the FIFA World Cup in 1994.

Nigeria's first stint with Adidas lasted for six years, and after an eight year period with Nike (1994 to 2002), Adidas once again came on board as the Super Eagles’ kit suppliers in 2002 and at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.

Nigeria Super Eagles team during FIFA World Cup, 2002
Credit: Icon Sport

Adidas had quite a lengthy and successful history with Nigeria as they kitted the Super Eagles on two of the occasions when the country won the AFCON.

Adidas has been one of the foremost sport manufacturing companies globally with sales running in billions of Dollars. Founded in 1924, the company is currently led by CEO Bjørn Gulden and is a big player in the sports business with over 59,000 employees.

However, the famous German company ended their deal with Nigeria after they terminated their contract in December 2014 to bring to a halt a 12-year haul and 18 years total in sponsoring the national team's jerseys.

The reasons for Adidas’ decision not to renew its deal is understood to be centered on various occasions of a breach of contract when members of the Super Eagles playing and coaching staff breached contractual rules by wearing clothing items of Adidas’ rivals.

Super Eagles journey with Nike

The loss of the Adidas deal valued at around $7 million was a big blow for the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) who have faced a tumultuous year in which it has been beset by electoral troubles and faced multiple threats of sanctions by FIFA.

Then NFF president Amaju Pinnick faced great difficulty in securing a new kit sponsor after Adidas left and shot their doors for Nigeria.

Pinnick also went to PUMA who also refused to kit Nigeria after much effort from the president.

At last, Nike agreed to sponsor the African giants in April 2015 after Pinnick pulled some slick moves out of his discretion.

Super Eagles players
Credit: Icon Sport

Pinnick said: “I prayed and was determined to get Nike even though people say it is very difficult to get. I spoke with my contacts in the US soccer federation, and they spoke to Nike on our behalf.

“I involved some of Nigeria’s ex-internationals like Jay-Jay Okocha and others because Nike was previously with Nigeria, and they still like the likes of Okocha and the other players,” Pinnick continued.

“I brought them all together to whip up sentiments as well as the US soccer federation, Gulati. Nike finally agreed to come on board, but they said they were not going to pay us a dime, we would give you every other thing, they were only going to offer us kits for all our national teams, and we agreed.

“They tied the contract to specific benefits. For example, if we won the under 17 World Cup, we would get this and that. If we won the AFCON, we would get this and that. So if you look at what Nike brought, it was valued at over 1 million dollars, the value of the kits they gave us. We celebrated it, and we gave them the chance to do anything they wanted.

“Nike is a company that tries to understand every market they are in and knows what to give it. They wanted flexibility, and they told us from the get-go. That is how we got Nike.”

And ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Nike’s gamble paid off. Some days before the event in Russia, Nike released a stunning beauty to the public, and Nigerians, as well as non-Nigerians, went absolutely crazy for it.

Super Eagles Nike jersey of 2018
Credit: Icon Sport

Nike has been sponsoring the Super Eagles since 2015 and have renewed their deal with Nigeria which has a renewal clause that will take the collaboration through to the end of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Which kit has the Super Eagles worn more between Nike and Adidas?

With Nigeria still in business with Nike and a brand new kit design made for the national team, it is important to know that Adidas is still Nigeria's longest kit partner.

With a combined 18 years of service to Nigeria from the German kits manufacturers, the Super Eagles have worn more Adidas kits than Nike's who have now sponsored Nigeria for 16 years and counting after adding together their two stints.

However, Nike has produced better eye-catching designs which gained worldwide recognition in the 2018 World Cup for Nigeria where the Super Eagles jersey was voted the best in the mundial.

Super Eagles and AFCON 2023

The Jose Peseiro led side will be flying high Nigeria's flag in the 34th edition of the most prestigious football competition in Africa whilst wearing the new kits for the first time.

The team is aiming for their fourth AFCON title, and the desire to conquer Africa is great amongst many Nigerians for it has been ten years since the Super Eagles last won the AFCON title.

Legendary coach Stephen Keshi, of blessed memory, was the last tactician who guided the team to AFCON glory in the 2013 edition in South Africa, where then home-based attacking midfielder Sunday Mba inspired the Eagles to a 1-0 win against fellow West African side Burkina Faso in the finals.

Nigeria will compete in Group A in AFCON 2023 alongside hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau for a place in the knockout stage.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.