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World Cup 2018 Meet the young Nigerians who sold the Super Eagles jersey to the world

Among one or two usual suspects, Nigerians, home and abroad, helped launch the Nigeria National Team collection.

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play Among one or two usual suspects, Nigerians, home and abroad, helped launch the Nigeria National Team collection. (Instagram (@wizkidayo))

Weeks, after the jersey was unveiled in London, England, sportswear brand, Nike, has finally made Nigeria's much-loved world cup kit available in its stores around the world, albeit for just three minutes. To mark the June 1 launch of the Nigeria National Team Collection, Nike shared a number of photos from its campaign featuring some of Nigeria's brightest footballing talent, and young people flying the green-white-green in various fields of endeavour around the world.

ALSO READ: The official Nike Super Eagles campaign is mind-blowing

The shoot may be another part of a marketing strategy - most of the individuals featured have shared the photos on personal social accounts - but beneath the splashes of green and the allusion to Eagles' wings, the photos tell the story of young Nigerians making a name for themselves, challenging stereotypes and breaking boundaries on their own terms.

Among one or two usual suspects, here are the Nigerians who helped launch the Nigeria National Team collection.

(1) Wizkid

Ayo Balogun needs little introduction. The pop star has been at the forefront of taking African pop music around the world.

#emo#8J+mhQ==## #Starboy

A post shared by Wizkid (@wizkidayo) on

 

In a decade or so since he debuted on the Nigerian scene, he has amassed a long list of collaborations with world music's biggest stars, sold out concerts in Europe and the Americas, an impressive catalogue of hits.

ALSO READ: Wizkid says his next album will be titled "Made in Lagos"

Among his fans, Wizkid is a demi-god, a standard to aspire to. Starboy is an ambassador for Nigeria, and by large, the continent. It's no surprise that he is at the forefront of this campaign.

(2) Yagazie Emezi

Documentary Photographer, Yagazie Emezi is a beautiful person with an eye for soul and the many emotions that define a story.

The Aba-born creative has been commissioned by the likes of Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Vogue, TIME, Refinery29, Everyday Projects, and UNFPA.

 

Yagazie is a recipient of the 2018 inaugural Creative Bursary Award from Getty Images. She was photographed by iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz and profiled in the February 2018 issue of Vogue Magazine.

Yagazie represents a generation telling important stories and challenging the conventions that have fuelled archetypes about Nigerian women.

(3) Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi is the Nigerian football success story in the making. After honing his skills on the dusty fields of Owerri, Imo State in Southeastern Nigeria, Iheanacho won hearts as the best player at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Having emerged as Africa's most promising football talent at the CAF Awards, Iheanacho has set out to fulfil his undoubted potential.

 

The striker played an instrumental role in helping Nigeria to this year's World Cup with goals against Zambia and Cameroon in the qualifying round.

On the club stage, he appears for Leicester City in the Premier League.

(4) Wilfried Ndidi

One of Iheanacho's teammates at Leicester is 21-year old Nigerian, Wilfried Ndidi, a versatile player who has spent the last few years collecting scalps and plaudits from Lagos, via Belgium, to England.

ALSO READ: Ndidi is Leicester's City Player of the year

Naija #emo#8J+mhQ==## @nikefootball @nike available june 1st

A post shared by W I L F R E D N D I D I (@ndidi25) on

 

Until last year, Ndidi had a relatively low profile. His move to England changed all that.

This May, he was announced Leicester's best player, after enforcing a midfield anchor role that has secured him a starting shirt with the 2016 Premier League champions.

In the last few months, he has emerged as a big player at the core of the Nigerian National Team.

If the Eagles will do well in Russia, Ndidi will be a big part of the story.

(5) Not3s

The music of Africans in the diaspora, particularly Afropop in the UK, has become more fertile than ever. British Black Music, for one, has spread its influence far beyond the isles, home to Nigeria.

One of the genre's biggest sons is Not3s, a British-Nigerian who hails from Ibadan and has taken up residence on the UK's pop charts.

#emo#8J+mhQ==##

A post shared by 3#emo#77iP###emo#4oOj##'s Up (@not3sofficial) on

 

Not3s is one of a generation of Brits of Nigerian origin who have retraced their ties and reconnected with the motherland.

Hits like Addison and Sit Back Down are pointers that he might be around for quite a while.

For Nigerians in the diaspora, the star is a reference point to home. For those at home, he is an export we are more than proud of.

(6) Julie Adenuga

Most fans of music will know Julie Adenuga as the British radio presenter who is one of three radio DJs/hosts on Apple's Beats 1 Radio.

Others will know as a sister to the Amuludun of Odo-Aje - Yes, I referenced his title - British-Nigerian rapper, Skepta. Julie is the third of the Adenugas, a British-Nigerian family that arguably stands as the finest ambassador of Nigerian origin in the UK music culture.

 

The 29-year old recently came home for the BBK Africa homecoming show. In past years, she has used her influence to draw attention to Nigerian artistes like Wizkid and Mr Eazi.

(7) Alex Iwobi

When he first broke into the Arsenal first team, a lot of fans were interested to see just how well the next few years would turn out for Alex.

Any form of relation to Nigerian football legend, Jay-Jay Okocha is enough to earn you a few gold stars, just because, but Iwobi has gone about earning his stripes by himself.

Drops June 1st Go Get It @Nike

A post shared by Alexander Iwobi (@alexanderiwobi) on

 

After a lot of speculation, the forward chose to wear Nigeria's green kit. He's gone on to be one of the pillars of coach Gernot Rohr's young Super Eagles team. Nigeria will be hoping Iwobi can soar in Russia when it matters.

(8) Grace Ladoja

Seen as one of the UK's most promising music executives, Grace Ladoja is Skepta's manager and founder of Metallic Inc.

@yagazieemezi and I styled by @ibkamara collection out tomorrow

A post shared by Amazing Grace Ladoja (@graceladoja) on

 

A daughter of former Oyo Governor, Rasheed Ladoja, she has set about making her name for her ties to money but for giant strides in entertainment, and groundbreaking work with the likes of Skepta, FKA Twigs and urban fashion brand, Supreme. 

In January, she was awarded an OBE from the Queen of England in acknowledgement of her work.

In recent times, Miss Ladoja has been a more frequent presence in the Nigerian space, while working on Skepta's team and sharing lessons with budding entrepreneurs.

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