First it was Super Eagles home and away World Cup jerseys that created a frenzy around the world on the day sportswear giants, Nike, put them on sale in London. In just matter of hours, the entire stock sold out! Never in the 24 years of Nigeria’s participation at the Mundial has such a thing happen previously.
Little did the world realize the jersey frenzy was going to be little compared with the glitz and buzz that will surround Super Eagles’ arrival in Russia from their training camp in Austria on Monday afternoon.
Yesterday, Eagles touched down in Russia in exotic, white kneel length caftan-like designer dress with a white hat to match. The designers of their outfits also kept faith with football by placing patches of football on the collars of the white and green outfits.
Just like it happened in London at the sale of the jerseys, the social media went agog, with mostly Nigerians and Africans celebrating the three-time AFCON winners and their dress-to-kill- sense.
One fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Love the fact you guys aren’t going in suit. We are Africans. We dress like one to Russia. Goodluck.’
From Captain John Mikel Obi to new entrant like Bryan Idowu, Instagram and Twitter celebrated the arrival of the first team to clinch the ticket to Russia 2018 from the African continent.
‘Tell the world we are coming #positivevibesonly #worldcupvibes #eue3 #supereagles @ighalojude @ogu30’ Nigerian international Elderson Echiejile – also of Monaco – wrote on Twitter as they made their way to their Essentuki training base in Southern Russia.
Captain John Obi Mikel also wrote on Instagram: ‘Russia here we come’.
Of course, it is not only the native attires that the world will see in Russia, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under the leadership of quintessential Amaju Pinnick, has also design trendy suits for the glory-seeking Eagles.
Nigerian designer, David Bowler, was contracted to kit the players in smart, sweet-looking official suits that will be talk of the tournament.
Bowler had similarly designed the suits Eagles wore to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A last minute red tape at the supervising Federal Ministry of Sports in Abuja denied the 2016 Rio Olympic Games contingent from similarly benefiting from the craft of the top Nigeria clothe designer.
However, despite all the razzmatazz that trail Super Eagles jerseys and designer dresses, Gernot Rohr and his wards are not lost on the essence of their going to Russia.
They immediately settle down to business after the six hours flight from Austria to the team’s base camp in Yessentuki, a city in Stavropol Krai, Russia. It is located at the base of the Caucasus Mountains.
Although camp sources confirmed the players had light work out before the trip, they are not expected to have serious drill until later in the evening ahead of their first game against Croatia.
Eagles who are in the competition as one of the lowest ranked teams, (48th in the FIFA rankings released last Thursday), accept their underdog tag but insisted they are not going to lie down for any team to roll over. Both Rohr and Mikel admitted to reporters before leaving Austria for Russia they were unfazed by the underdog tag.
Nigeria is to kick off her World Cup 2018 campaign against Croatia in Kaliningrad on Saturday, June 16, before taking on Iceland in Volgograd and then complete the group stages against Argentina in St Petersburg.