The partnership between global sportswear giants Nike and the Nigeria Football Federation has rocketed to a higher level with the global release of the Nike Air Max 95 “Naija” sneakers.
The news sneakers honour Nigeria’s proud sporting tradition and global recognition as a football nation. Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles, has been led by some of Africa’s most iconic players like Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Obafemi Martins, the late Rashidi Yekini and many more. The team first gained global recognition when they appeared at the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 1994 and were voted the second most entertaining team, despite being eliminated in the second round.
In 1996, Nigeria’s place in global football was cemented when they became the first African team to win the gold medal in men’s football at the Olympic Games.
But it was in 2018 that the world experienced a “Nigeria-mania” when the Nigeria Football Federation teamed up with Nike to release a new team jersey ahead of that year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. The bold green, white and black design was hugely popular with both football fans and streetwear enthusiasts and broke records with 3 million pre-orders for the jersey worldwide before the tournament even started.
Putting that into perspective, English Premier League giants Manchester United sold the most jerseys globally in 2016, with 2.85 million sales.
Earlier this year, Nike released a brand new range of Nigeria’s home and away jerseys, as well as an apparel collection and the reception has been equally encouraging. They have now followed this up with the release of the Air max 95 “Naija” sneakers.
The sneakers are covered in a bold green-heavy colorway comprising “Pine Green,” “Black,” “Sub Lime,” and “White.” Combined, the Air Max 95 offers prints and patterns that nod to the aforementioned football kit — zig-zags are added onto the bottom of the upper and a knitted graphic appears in the webbing eyestays and on the Air unit on the outsole.
Elsewhere on the sneaker, a snakeskin-like texture is used for one of the Air Max 95’s waves, as well as black ripstop for the tongue. The tongue is also finished with a complementing green-and-white Airmax patch.
Black suede has been used on the toe box, while black thread makes the mini swoosh on the rear-quarter stand out against the green upper. Rounding out the pair is a black midsole that’s finished with “Sub Lime” green accents on the outsole, as well as “Pine Green” tinting to the Air bubble units that run the full length of the sole. Inside, the crest of the Nigeria Football Federation is prominently displayed.
The Nike Air Max 95 “Naija” was released on September 28 and sells for £149 (approx. $193) at retailers.
Algeria Coach Belmadi Extends Contract With Desert Foxes
Djamel Belmadi has signed a new deal with the Algerian Football Federation as he remains the coach of the Desert Foxes.
Belmadi has signed a new deal to keep him as coach of the Desert Foxes until the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar.
The Algerian football president Kheireddine Zetchi said Belmadi’s contract extension was important following his achievements in a short time.
“When Belmadi arrived as the coach of the Greens, he had made no conditions,” said Zetchi.
“The national team was going through a difficult period and it is to his credit to have placed the recovery of the technical situation before any other consideration.
“With what he managed to do in record time and in the most beautiful way, it is logical that after the continental coronation in Egypt, we have reviewed his contract.”
Algeria currently sit on top of their Africa Cup Of Nations (AFCON) qualifying table, with six points from two games as they are on course to qualify for the tournament.
Brazil 2014 was the last time Algeria played at the World Cup where they reached the Round of 16, before losing to eventual winners Germany.
The Algerian coach is looking to take the Desert Foxes back to the World stage and also making an impact.
“The objective will be to give everything and believe in the impossible,” Belmadi said.
“When we have done the work, when we have qualified, the objective will be to win it.
“We will now speak seriously, the objective will not be to just participate, the players do not set any limits.”
Belmadi replaced Rabah Madjer as the coach of the Algerian national team, following his failure to lead them to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
In less than a year in charge of the Desert Foxes, Belmadi led Algeria to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
Hunt reacts to Kaizer Chiefs failed CAS appeal
Head coach of Kaizer Chiefs Gavin Hunt reacts to failed appeal of his club to overturn a FIFA transfer ban.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed Chiefs appeal against a two-window transfer ban.
The Glamour Boys inability to register new players for two consecutive transfer windows has affected Hunt’s plans in his first season in charge of the club.
In the post-match press conference after Amakhosi’s 1-0 victory over Chippa United, Hunt reacts to failed appeal as he talked about the transfer ban.
“I’ve been working here for the last month under the illusion that it was not going to get turned over, and it didn’t, so I’ve got to make it better,” Hunt said.
“I’m going to try and improve the team by trying to improve the players.”
Chiefs were found guilty when they signed Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana in 2018. Andriamirado’s former club, Fosa Juniors lodged an official complaint to FIFA stating that Chiefs did not compensate them justifiably for the transfer of the player.
Hunt stated that he has no choice, but to work with the players he has at his disposal and get on with the job.
“I mean, obviously, we know there are certain players in certain positions where we lack, but it is what it is and I must just get on with it,” Hunt added.
“So, one step forward, we try and mould players the way I’m thinking and according to what I’m trying to do, and we’ll go from there.”
With the transfer ban upheld, Chiefs who have former Wits duo of Sifiso Hlanti and Phathutshedzo Nange training with the team, it remains to be seen if both players will continue training with the team.
Amakhosi are said to be interested in former Wits free agent, goalkeeper Brandon Peterson. Chiefs were also been linked with Thabang Monare and Deon Hotto, who have both joined Orlando Pirates.
West Brom Manager Bilic Unhappy With Hegazi’s Al-Ittihad Move
Manager of West Bromwich Albion Slaven Bilic has stated how disappointed he is with the transfer of Ahmed Hegazi to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.
Hegazi made the move to Al-Ittihad on a loan deal, but will sign on a permanent deal at the end of the 2020-2021 season.
The Egyptian defender made the move to West Brom from Egyptian Premier League side Al Ahly in 2017, and has made 104 appearances across all competitions.
Hegazi played an important role as West Brom gained promotion to the English Premier League as he made 14 starts for the club.
Bilic has talked about his frustration after West Brom signed off the loan move that took Hegazi away from the Hawthorns.
“He has experience. He is a top professional,” Bilic said.
“I wanted him to stay and he wanted to stay and then something happened and then he is off although I had assurances from the club that he would stay.
“That happened yesterday. Of course, I am not pleased. I am really disappointed because we need players. There is, of course, the economic side but we are a football club.”
Hegazi wrote an emotional farewell to West Brom and the fans.
“To my dear Baggies, I would like to thank you deeply for all the support you have given me over the past three years, through all the ups and downs. You have been amazing to me and my family,” the Egyptian wrote on Instagram.
“And I have always endeavoured to repay this faith by giving absolutely everything on the pitch for this great club, the fans and my teammates.
“I would also like to thank my teammates, coaches, and all the staff at West Bromwich Albion for welcoming me from day one, you have become family and I will miss you all, I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the season and the future.
“Now I’m looking forward to starting a new challenge with Al Ittihad club, which is one of the biggest and most popular in the Arab region, Asia.”
Al-Ittihad will face Al Ahli in a Pro League game this weekend, and Hegazi might be in line to make his league debut.
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