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Sports News of Saturday, 30 July 2022

Source: www.punchng.com

British firm produces last-minute kits for Team Nigeria

Team Nigeria Team Nigeria

A sportswear manufacturer in the United Kingdom, MG, reportedly came to the rescue of Team Nigerian at the ongoing 2023 Commonwealth Games to produce a last-minute kits for the country’s contingent, Saturday PUNCH reports.

MG Sportswear, based in Kidderminster, according to reports, was approached by the Nigerian team to make hundreds of items on Tuesday, after they were let down by their suppliers.

Manager of MG, Gino Ruffinato, said his 14 staff worked around the clock to get the garments finished.

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.”

According to Ruffinato, his team has been working long hours to fulfil the order, making 200 pieces of kits, 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 94-strong team to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, which opened on Thursday night.

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

However, media aide to the sports minister, Toyin Ibitoye, in a statement on Friday, claimed that it was the kits for the athletes’ competition and not the general kits procured by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for the Games.

The statement made available to our correspondent, read, “About 300 Team Nigeria Kits were delivered over two weeks ago and have since been issued to almost all the athletes.

“These kits, which are the general kits procured by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, as is the practice, have since been issued to the athletes. These include tracksuits, house wears, sneakers, face caps, backpacks, trolley bags, shorts and ceremonial wear.

“Team Nigeria athletes have since been donning them in Birmingham, as was evident at Thursday night’s Opening Ceremony and other team functions.

“However, the competition kits for each federation differ. Each federation produces specific competition kits for its athletes.

“The ministry is aware that federations have their own arrangements with different manufacturers with different delivery times and expectations, which are monitored very closely.”

Meanwhile, former African 100m record holder and retired Nigerian sprinter Olusoji Fasuba, revealed that he had kits issues while with Team Nigeria, saying it’s an age-long problem.

At last year’s Olympic Games, Team Nigeria was also had kits problem, with an athlete posting on social media that he had to wash his kits after an event, for him to use for the next competition.

“When I won the world indoors, I borrowed a tracksuit to collect my medal,” Fasuba wrote on WhatsApp platform, Family United By Sports.

“At the 2007 World Championship, I ran with my Adidas kits and at the African Championships, I had to give the relay team my Adidas kits, so we could be in the same uniform.

“We did get our kits for Melbourne, but I think it was one pair of running tights.

“The only time I recollect getting proper kits was during the 2003 World Championships in which Dan Ngerem was the (Athletics Federation of Nigeria) president then. That was the best set of kits I ever got and that was 2003.”

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