Over the weekend, the Nigerian super eagles played a friendly match with The England national football team decked in their highly sought Super Eagles 2018 World Cup jersey.  The Super Eagles 2018 World Cup kit was manufactured overseas by American multinational corporation, Nike.

The sportswear giants drew inspiration from the Super Eagles jersey to the 1995 King Fahd Cup – now known as FIFA Confederations Cup.

The home kits pay tribute to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt which was worn by the first Nigerian team to qualify for the World Cup – with eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso while the away kits boast of the full green strip in a classic fashion. The kits for the 2018 World Cup has been voted the best of the 32 teams that will participate in the tournament. The official shirt is worth N41,241.30 and the tracksuit goes for $200 which is equivalent to over 70,000 in Nigerian Naira, this has fueled a lot of reactions from Nigerians. However, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce representing the Bayelsa East constituency in the Senate has not hidden his disapproval on the production of the Sports kit abroad. The senator who had launched the #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira campaign on social media shared his opinion on this via his tweet;

This tweet has drawn a lot of controversies as to how Nigerian local textile makers lacked the technology advancement for the production, the outrageous price tag which goes beyond minimum wage and how the senator was not a practical doer of what he preached.

He further shared his opinion on how the business deal for Nigeria;

“Just imagine if those 3 million Nigerian Super Eagles jerseys were made by a firm in Aba rather than @Nike. Aba tailors have the capacity to produce them. We just lost an opportunity to infuse at least $100 million into the Nigerian economy and provide jobs for our youths.

“It is a win/win situation. If we persuaded @Nike to manufacture our team’s jerseys in Aba instead of Asia, we would all have benefited. Nike would make money from marketing, the Nigerian economy makes money from products made in Aba and our youths get jobs even if temporary.”

The brouhaha has since died down but the stunning jersey has sure left some business lessons for entrepreneurs. Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in January 1964. The company initially operated as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger (now ASICS), making most sales at track meets out of Knight’s automobile but has grown to become an American multinational corporation.

Opportunity has a bad habit. It never knocks on the door. It never waits for you, it goes to the next taker.  The entrepreneur has to be ever ready to advance his business irrespective of if the odds are stacked against him. As much as idealistically, it looks like a great idea, the production of the Jerseys wouldn’t have been feasible. Grabbing a deal of a production of 3 million Nigerian Super Eagles jerseys would have indeed created increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP), profit and engaged more youths in labour, however, we weren’t just ready.

You will also need to note that opportunity is like a spendthrift wife who is always demanding. It takes more than passion and a course on business basics. Work constantly on the growth of your business.



This post was first published by Jennifer Andrew for Aim Higher Africa.

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