SUPER EAGLES BRAND FACE FOR 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP: A Recent ‘Controversy’ for Sport Marketers in Nigeria

 It came recently in Sport marketers forum in Nigeria. It came as a simple question from one of the participants: “Which player in the national team now can we endorse as Super Eagles brand face? It isn’t going to be a topic for debate really, but Sport marketers understand the importance of endorsing an appealing model for effective impression and promotion of Nigeria national team to the world.

It isn’t a controversy in some country. For instance, we can tell for sure that Cristano Ronaldo is Portugal national team brand face; Lionel Messi for Argentina, Neymar for Brazil, Samuel Eto’o for Cameroon…

Before now, Nwankwo Kanu and sometimes, Austin Jay-jay Okocha were used to promote Nigeria National team. Well, both of them have retired from active football and there’s the need for a new model to take their place.

Sport marketers has adopted brand face model as an effective way of selling a football team to fans across the world; especially when it comes to FIFA world cup, where most fans may not be conversant with the strength of some countries national team.

Sport marketers usually endorse the biggest star or well known celebrity player and in some cases a charismatic coach could become the brand face for that national team. It now raises the question of who is the most appealing model in Nigeria national team today? Is it John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Vincent Enyeama or even Stephen Keshi, the team coach?

 We could have easily chosen John Mikel Obi, because he seem to be the biggest and perhaps, the most recognizable player in Nigeria today. He plays for one of the biggest clubs in the world – Chelsea; and he plays in the most popular leagues in the world – English Premiership and UEFA Champions League. But some sport marketers argued that Mikel isn’t one of the stars at Chelsea; and for the fact that didn’t win Nigeria player of the year 2013 award recently, may have cast some doubt of his popularity even among fans in Nigeria.


So Victor Moses won 2013 Nigeria player of the year award and it’s more appropriate to endorse him as Super Eagles brand face this year. But again, Moses has become a fringe player at Liverpool where he is on a loan deal  from Chelsea. Some sport marketers feel his popularity is fan fading away. Again, some commentators said that Moses hasn’t made enough sacrifice for Nigeria national team to become such model.

Vincent Enyeama recently came into the picture, having won player of the month of October and November in French Ligue 1 and widely published by major publications and broadcasters such as BBC Africa, comparing him with world best goalkeepers like Buffon and Iyke Casillas. Some sport marketers agreed that Enyeama should be considered as Super Eagles brand face.

But Enyeama’s successes may be overshadowed by the larger than life reputation Stephen Keshi has started to build for himself. Since he became the chief coach of Super Eagles in 2012,; he has won AFCON 2013, Qualified Nigeria for CHAN, for the first time and for FIFA world cup.

Keshi won Glo-Caf Award as Africa coach of the year 2013. He also won Nigeria coach of the year award and if he goes on to win CHAN in February 2014, then no marketer will have a choice but to endorse him as Super Eagles brand face.

We’ve heard some diverse opinions. Some say we could use a combination of Mikel and Keshi as the national team’s brand faces; others said the combination of Mikel, Moses and Enyeama is better. What’s your own opinion on this matter. Let’s have your own comments below.

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