this is naija

July 05, 2018

words by: Vane Karolle

this is naija documentary nike football soccer nigeria Andrew Dosunmu.jpg

Prior to the Nigerian Super Eagles getting booted out of the competition, there was Nigeria’s 2-0 win against Iceland. The hype surrounding the Super Eagles team and its kit was rekindled at the time, sending fans into a worldwide frenzy. Both physically on the streets and on social media, fans proudly showed off their jerseys in celebration of the Super Eagles' win.

Building on the momentum, Nike in collaboration with Nigerian film maker Andrew Dosunmu released This is Naija: A Nigerian Football Story—a short film celebrating soccer culture in the country. This documentary is an exploration of Nigeria’s rich soccer culture, which features a few notable names in Nigerian football like Segun Odegbami, Patrick Pascal, Salisu Yusuf who set the blueprint. Sharing the Super Eagles' mission to bring Naija to the world, the documentary also sees exclusive insights from more recent Super Eagles players like Odion Ighalo and Wilfred Ndidi; and millennial influencers like Davido, Nneka, Adegoke Odukoya, Aisha Angie Kuta.

Contrary to popular belief, soccer in this part of the world is not as glamorous as most would like to think. As opposed to Europe where contemporary soccer is something young ones can get into if or when interested, catching a break as a soccer player here in Africa is not an easy feat. Where as the Europeans are already afforded the opportunity to pursue a long-term career in the sport, what with the soccer academies that can be accessed with great ease, aspiring athletes in this part of the world face so many hurdles in attempt to break out professionally. 


In Nigeria, street (aspiring) soccer players have to "HUSTLE". Literally. From having to buy their own kits to playing in the streets in place of standard pitches, to having to transport themselves for training. They HUSTLE. Interestingly, it's not just the men, women are well involved. This insight starts to make you wonder just how the country has managed to produce prominent names in the history of soccer. And on a global scale too. 

In the case that you're still wondering just how these guys do it, it's simple: Naija spirit. Heart. Passion. Which is exactly what the Andrew Dosunmu-directed documentary, This is Naija, highlights. The near 19-minute long clip divulges just how passionate Nigerians are about soccer, how they have been and are still going to great lengths to realize their dreams and how this sport has become of great cultural importance.  

Yes, Nigeria may already be out of the ongoing World Cup competition following their loss to Argentina by 1 point, (scores were 2 to Argentina & 1 to Nigeria) but be rest assured that their resilient spirits have not been broken. If the words of Segun Odegbami (a star of the 1980 Nigerian Africa Cup team) are anything to go by, then “Nigerian football will rule the football world for the next decade."