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Commonwealth Games

Again, Nigerian officials let Nigeria down over kits at Birmingham 2022



Great thanks to MG Sportswear that the Nigerian team is kitted for the opening ceremony

The familiar occurrence of Nigerian teams appropriately kitted has again resurfaced as Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games get under way in the United Kingdom.

According to both AFP and BBC reports, it was a small sportswear manufacturer, MG Sportswear that came to Nigeria’s rescue just before the march past of the opening ceremony.

It happened at Tokyo when members of the Nigerian contingent arrived even in the attires of Arsenal and other sporting clubs.

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, athletes have to borrow attires from one another for podium appearances to collect medals.

The now familiar show has unfolded in Birmingham. MG Sportswear in Kidderminster was approached to make hundreds of items on Tuesday after the team claimed they were let down by their suppliers.

Manager Gino Ruffinato said his 14 staff had been working around the clock to get the garments finished.


As the Games begin, he will personally deliver the order to Birmingham later.

Mr Ruffinato said he initially thought Tuesday’s call was a “wind-up”.

“As it progressed I started getting emails with orders on, so at that point I thought, hang on, I think this is serious,” he said.

“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.”

His team has been working long hours to fulfil the order, making 200 pieces of kit including running vests and shorts, staff tracksuits and even 400 Nigerian badges to adorn the sportswear.


The atmosphere at the factory has been “panic stations” he joked, but said: “Everybody’s embraced it, they’ve worked hard and done many hours to make sure it happens.”

Nigeria sent a 93-strong team to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, which opened on Thursday night. The sporting events are already under way and will continue over the next 11 days.

“I still pinch myself – I’ll be looking on the telly and seeing the MG Sportswear brand for a national team,” Mr Ruffinato said. “It’s wonderful.”

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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