- Faced with embarrassment, officials sent SOS to an English sportswear firm to design and stitch kits in record time
- Nigeria had suffered a similar embarrassment at Tokyo Olympics, arriving in different colours after a mess-up with kit manufacturers
On Tuesday, the manager of a sportswear manufacturing firm, Gino Ruffinato, was flummoxed when he opened his email. An order had arrived for “hundreds of items” that had to be delivered by Friday. He thought it was a “wind-up.”
Then more emails started pouring in. It turns out Nigeria had no official kits for their 93-strong contingent due to a feud with their suppliers. MG Sports wear, a company in Worcestershire, rose to the call, and have been working hard to meet the strange demand.
“When they hit us with the deadline saying it needs to be there for Friday and today was Tuesday… there’s all the fabric, the print, the designs to get out in two days. It was a bit hair-raising,” the manager told BBC. It was “panic stations” time, he jested.
“Everybody’s embraced it, they’ve worked hard and done many hours to make sure it happens. “I still pinch myself – I’ll be looking on the telly and seeing the MG Sportswear brand for a national team. It’s wonderful.”
It is wonderful for the company but not so good for Nigeria, who have yet again started another international competition on the wrong foot.
At the Tokyo Olympics, the Nigerian team were dressed in different coloured-kits after a mess-up between the Nigerian associations and kit manufacturers. Back then, Sunday Adeleye, former Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria said it was unfortunate.
“I have never seen this before since I became an adult and knew about Nigeria’s participation at the Olympics … There is another disaster waiting for Nigeria. We have a contract with Puma, which we signed in 2019 and we got kits worth $2.7 million.
“Puma were supposed to kit Nigerian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics but the minister is saying the athletes should not wear them because he is bringing another company to kit them. Now, Puma is already threatening because part of the agreement was that we would wear the kits at the Olympics.
“Now that we are not wearing these kits at the Olympics, Nigeria risks being charged to court for breach of contract,” Adelye had then told the television network Arise.
This time around for the Commonwealth Games, another mix-up with the kit manufacturers has led to another round of embarrassment. At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Nigeria had finished with 36 medals with 11 golds and 11 silvers, their best performance at the CWG.