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Counterfeiters latch on to Super Eagles stylish kit



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Since being unveiled in February, Nigeria’s Super Eagles kit has become a fashion item and have been voted the best jersey at the World Cup.
But the scarcity and the hype around the kit has been a boon for the international counterfeiters doing brisk multi-million dollar business from Asia to Europe and Nigeria.
The first sign came a week before the kit was officially released when several fans wore counterfeits during a pre-World Cup friendly game. The jersey has been selling for nearly double its retail price on secondary markets.
Alex, a Lagos-based businessman who has dealt in counterfeit jerseys since 2011, says current demand exceeds that of the last World Cup jersey by about “1000%.”
Illegal factories in China, operating close to licensed manufacturers across Asia, are usually the first port of call for fake jerseys. With its production lines catering to both high and low grade fakes, Chinese factories offers bootleggers a range of options to satisfy local demand.
Thailand, a smaller source, is known more for producing top-grade fakes known as Thai AAA. Thai counterfeit makers have gotten better at the imitation game over the years as, at first glance, Thai AAA fakes look very similar to licensed versions. But upon a closer look, differences in “finishing and texture” become clear, says Alex who asked for his last name not to be used for this story.
Alex alone has brought in a shipment of 2,000 Thai AAA jerseys (valued at 20 million naira ($55,000) in sales) in the past two months. But his Guangzhou-based supplier—just one of many large scale producers of fakes—confirms that the business has shipped over 30,000 jerseys (worth up to 300 million naira ($830,000) in sales) to bootleggers in Nigeria alone, with another 20,000 shipped to sellers outside Nigeria.
However, while sourcing the kit is one thing, getting them to Nigeria is another as Chinese and Thai suppliers claim they can only move shipments at night to avoid seizure by local law enforcement clamping down on counterfeits
Unwittingly, Nike’s $90 retail price—more than most Nigerian soccer fans can afford—and its limited production has boosted the value of fakes.
“Initially, the price was 7,000 naira ($19) but when Nike ran out of stock, people upped the price to 15,000 naira ($41),” Alex says. Yet demand has not wavered. Indeed, in the past month, Alex has set up international shipping arrangements to deliver orders from Spain, Denmark, Dubai. South Africa, India and Egypt
Even though the Nigeria’s Super Eagles are unlikely to go far at the World Cup, their jerseys are proving a big win for bootleggers.

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