The Super Eagles have received another rush of off-the-field hype heading into the World Cup, with tongues now wagging over the native attires packaged for the players by their football federation.
Many of the players modelled the traditional wears in sneak previews of the designs they will don into their World Cup base at Essenthuki, Russia, and the response was almost as wild as what trailed the launch of their new jerseys for the global soccer showpiece.
It was bound to be exciting scenes when the players lined out on Monday with their native attires in full bloom, as they storm into Sanatory Istochnik Hotel in Essentuki.
They were billed to arrive in all-white traditional attires, with a design of green at the top, signifying the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria and hope to take the World Cup by storm.
That was the setting before the Eagles’ scheduled flight on Monday out of Austria to the 21st FIFA World Cup – their sixth appearance in seven since making a memorable debut in USA ‘94.
The players have also been presented with official suits made by rave-making Nigerian designers, David Bowler, who also made Eagles’ corporate wears for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Their designs were also to have been used by the country’s contingent to the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, but were ditched at the last minute.
This is another plus following the craze that the team’s sexy home kits has caused it went on sale worldwide this month.
Since emerging from the qualifying series, becoming the first African team to reach Russia 2018, the Eagles have played against Argentina, Poland, Serbia, DR Congo, England and Czech Republic in friendlies – winning two, drawing one and losing three.
Victories over two –time world champions Argentina (finalists in Brazil 204) and Poland were followed by defeat by Serbia, a draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo and losses to England and the Czech Republic.
With just one win from five friendlies, the team will have to put up a spirited display in Kaliningrad if they are to surpass their previous Round of 16 achievement which was equalled four years ago in Brazil.
The Eagles are drawn in Group D, alongside two-time champions Argentina, Croatia and debutants Iceland; they take on Croatia this Saturday at 8pm (Nigeria time).