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Editorials, Sports

Nigerian Sportswear Brands Rising to the Challenge

Nigerian sportswear brands are making waves, challenging giants with quality, innovation, and local pride.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 26th June 2024

For decades, the narrative surrounding sportswear in Africa, and particularly Nigeria, has been one of dominance by international giants. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Umbro have saturated the market, leaving little room for local competitors. 


However, a quiet revolution is brewing. A new wave of indigenous Nigerian sportswear brands is making a name for itself, taking on the established players with a unique blend of locally produced, innovative sportswear and a deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of Nigerian athletes.


This article explores five such brands – Owu, AFA, Cone Sports, Haggai, and KingKanu – that are shaping the future of athletic apparel in Nigeria. These companies are not just creating high-quality alternatives; they are fostering a sense of national pride and identity within the sporting community.


Their dedication to sustainability, community development, and cutting-edge design is not only transforming the industry but also inspiring a generation of young Nigerians to dream big and pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations in the world of sports.


Owu Sportswear: 


Leading the charge is Owu Sportswear, arguably the biggest locally-made brand in Nigeria. Founded by Tunji Brown, a lawyer and lifelong supporter of the Shooting Stars football club, 



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Owu has established itself as a major player in the domestic market. Brown, a true pioneer in the Nigerian sportswear industry, has strategically positioned Owu as the official kit supplier for several clubs in the prestigious Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).


AFA Sportswear: 


Founded in 2007 by Ugo Udezue, a former NBA agent with BDA Sports in the United States, AFA Sportswear embodies the spirit of pan-Africanism. The company’s name, “AFA,” stands for “Africa For Africa,” reflecting their commitment to developing the continent’s sporting landscape through high-quality, locally produced apparel.



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Cone Sports: 


Cone Sports, a Kano-based powerhouse, stands tall among the new generation of Nigerian sportswear brands challenging the dominance of international giants. Cone Sports is a football specialist. Their focus on the beautiful game has seen them become a major player in the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).



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Founded with a passion for promoting locally-made products, Cone Sports boasts a roster of eight current NPFL teams sporting their kits. Their commitment to quality and affordability has resonated with clubs, offering a strong domestic alternative to established international brands. Notably, the defunct MFM football club was also previously outfitted by Cone Sports, demonstrating their established presence in the Nigerian football scene.


Haggai Sportswear:


Established in 2016 by Paul Maduakor, a prominent figure in Nigerian sportswear sales and distribution (known as Zenth Sports), Haggai Sportswear focuses on the needs of athletes at the grassroots level. Maduakor recognized the gap in the market for affordable, high-performance apparel for football academies, amateur clubs, and school inter-house sports.



Haggai provides innovative performance apparel and accessories specifically designed to cater to these athletes, fostering a culture of participation and development in sports across Nigeria.




The youngest brand on this list, but generating a significant buzz, is KingKanu (KK). Owned by none other than Nigerian football legend, Kanu Nwankwo, KingKanu burst onto the scene with a bang, designing the eye-catching jerseys for Enyimba International Football Club for the 2023/2024 season.



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The brand’s focus on quality and aesthetics has garnered widespread attention, with fans commending the unique design and praising celebrities like UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya for sporting the Enyimba kit.

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