The Nigeria Rugby League Association (NRLA) announced on Saturday the launch of their new kits for club sides and the national team.
Made by leading rugby brand Canterbury of New Zealand and designed by fashion designer Ugo Mozie, the NRLA said the new kits were designed “unite sport with popular culture”.
The new kits will ensure all teams in the NRLA have access to the same world-class rugby technology as the most elite players in the sport and help level the playing field for grassroots teams.
The launch comes on the back of many big wins and achievements for the NRLA including the confirmation of its Affiliate Membership of the International Rugby league (IRL).
Established in Nigeria in 2018 by former Professional Rugby League footballer, Ade Adebisi and Martin Crawford (O.B.E), the NRLA led the national team to becoming champions of the Middle East Africa (MEA) Rugby League Tournament that same year, established the NRLA Female League and launched its youth development programme in schools this year and set out a roadmap to qualify for the 2025 World Cup.
The new kits were designed by International Designer/Creative Director, Chief Ugo Mozie and his sister, contemporary African Artist and energy healer, Adaobi Mozie.
When asked what made the opportunity appealing to him Mozie said, “The opportunity to design the NRLA jersey is an honour and blessing. As a Nigerian-born and an American-raised creative, my dream has always been to be able to use my talent to create things that can show different sides of my country and highlight our incredibly rich history and present. I’m excited for the world to see my team soar to the top of the game in style.”
Mozie also said that working on the project meant highlighting strength, pride, courage, and went on to explain the inspiration behind the kit.
“The aesthetic was inspired by our distinct ability to shape our future using the wisdom of our past and the radiant energy of our present.”
The Nsidibi symbols found on the shorts are an ancient and sacred writing system that was developed in South-Eastern Nigeria several millennia ago. On the shorts you will see VICTORY, STRENGTH, PRIDE, and COURAGE written in Nsidibi. The colours and the design pattern represent the prosperous and united future of the people of Nigeria.
Ahead of the kit launch in August NRLA General Manager NRLA Adebisi said the idea behind the new kit was to introduce a new audience to Rugby League.
“We want to introduce a new audience to Rugby League and fashion is a versatile tool to do so”.
“When I reached out to Ugo, being such a visionary, he sought to make an impact with the kit by showcasing Nigeria and our rich heritage with authentic and contemporary designs. With the success of our last international outing, we know we’re on the right course. We are very excited about the new kit and appreciate Canterbury for joining us on this incredible journey.”
NRLA Head of Performance and Former Professional Rugby player Bolu Fagborun, who played a huge role in securing the partnership with Canterbury, added: “I think that the range of designs will create a buzz on and off the field to help capture the imagination of sporting audiences globally.”
Account Manager at Canterbury, Ian Watkinson stated that “Canterbury is made from Rugby and we’re proud to partner with Nigeria Rugby League (NRL) to continue our long and rich association with elite level rugby.
“Alongside our supply specialists, Hardgear Teamwear, and designer Ugo Mozie, we’ve collaborated to create a completely bespoke range that’s both fashionable and meaningful to fans of the Nigerian Rugby League and available in market-leading Men’s, Women’s and Junior ranges.”
“UK, Europe and American residents can now preorder exclusive kits from Hardgear Ltd, and purchase directly from Lovell in October.
Africa and Nigerian residents can also order from September, shop the kits with official retail partners LidStores.