NFF announces new Nike sponsorship deal

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Following on from our previous article, many football fans like Tunde Folawiyo often visits YouTube when looking for the latest news about his favourite team, the Super Eagles. Recently, he came across a news report on this site, in which it was revealed that Nike had entered into an agreement with the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation) that will see the sports apparel brand designing and manufacturing the football kits for both the male and female Nigerian teams, at every level. This includes the beach football team, the Olympic teams, the Under-17s, the Under-20s and the senior teams.

tunde folawiyo

This partnership began on the 1st of April, and will continue for at least another three years. As part of this deal, Nike will be creating the clothing and equipment for both the players’ training sessions and matches.  Additionally, it will be developing an exclusive range of products for supporters of Nigerian football teams; these are expected to go on sale by mid-2016, although an exact date has not yet been set. The first team to wear Nike’s newly-designed kit was the Nigeria’s under-20 men’s team, when they played at the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand last month. The new 2015 home jersey is green and white, and features two stripes; a vertical one on the front of the garment, and a horizontal one on the right sleeve. This design is thought to have been based on Nike’s famous Striker shirt. The kit also comes with matching green shorts and socks.

The NFF’s decision to do business with Nike should come as no surprise to those who are already familiar with this sports brand’s existing affiliations; Nike is known for working with many major sports federations, and currently sponsors national teams not only within the US, South Korea, South Africa, and Holland, but also in France, England, Brazil and Australia. In an interview, Laurent Payre, who currently serves as the General Manager of Nike Africa, expressed delight at the new partnership, stating that he and his colleagues were very pleased to be collaborating with the NFF. He noted that Nigeria is famed for its passion for football, and went on to say that Nike is determined to contribute to the progression of this game at every level.

The President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, also commented on the partnership, describing it as ‘exciting’. He, along with Stephen Keshi and several other NFF members, signed the contract with Nike in London last April. On the day of the signing, he declared that he was certain that the deal would be a positive step forward for the club, adding that the NFF was happy to be partnering with one of the world’s leading brands. He explained that the deal symbolises the federation’s devotion to improving the future of football in Nigeria, and added that the NFF is eager to boost participation, and ensure that the national teams enjoy as much success as possible in the coming years.

Fans of Nigeria’s football teams are likely to be quite relieved by news of this partnership, as the NFF had been quite candid about its struggle to secure a new kit sponsor, after their partnership with Adidas ended late last year; at the time, Ademola Olajire, a spokesman for the federation, admitted that they were in talks with several different manufacturers, in the hopes of negotiating a replacement sponsorship.

The NFF first collaborated with Adidas more than two decades ago, entering into an agreement just before the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994. Although the NFF switched manufacturers soon after this tournament, and worked with Nike for the next eight years, it reinstated its contract with Adidas in 2004. Just two months after the contract with Adidas expired, reports indicated that Puma was in the running for the role of kit sponsor, with sources revealing that the brand had expressed a serious interest in making a deal with the NFF. Ultimately however, the two parties were unable to agree upon terms which suited them both, resulting in Nike stepping up to the plate, and delivering a deal which was satisfactory for everyone involved.

Speaking about the NFF’s previous contract with Nike, Pinnick noted that the national teams had performed well during that period, winning their first ever gold medal for football at the Olympics in 1996, and reaching the 16th round of the FIFA World Cup two years later. The NFF president finished by saying that he was sure that the federation’s second partnership with the corporation would bring about further moments of glory for all of Nigeria’s national teams in the future. Whilst of course, no-one can say for certain how Nigeria’s sports teams will fare over the coming years, there is no doubt that they will benefit from their affiliation with this major sports brand.