The story behind Lobi Stars' colourful jersey

Lobi Stars are top of Group B.

NPFL The story behind Lobi Stars' colourful jersey

Jidechi Chidiezie 16:32 - 27.01.2023

The Makurdi club have been at the centre of jerseys designs conversations since the beginning of the 2023 NPFL season.

Since the start of the 2023 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) season, Lobi Stars have been at the centre of jerseys conversations, largely due to the unusualness of the club's 2023 home kit.

The 1999 NPFL champions mostly known for their black and white stripes for home kits, or a mix of red and black and blue, opted for a design for the 2023 season, which some have labelled as "weird", and "so ugly."

Interestingly, the 2023 jersey is no distant in design from the club's styles of the early 2010s.

Lobi Stars' home (L - black and white) and away (R - red and black) colours in the early 2010s

But the diversity of colours is what has led to massive negative reactions in public opinion polls about the sportswear.

Social media reactions to Lobi Stars' home kits

Fact vs Fiction

Perhaps, the kits markers of this "weird", and "so ugly" jersey should be blamed for doing such a horrible job.

But on the contrary, Owu Sportswear, arguably the biggest sportswear brand in Nigeria at the moment, currently kits about five other football clubs in the NPFL, some of which, have received opposite remarks.

NPFL 2023 clubs and their kit manufacturers. (El-Kanemi Warriors have so far, used both Cone and MustiSports kits)

Besides Lobi Stars, Owu Sportswear also carter to defending champions Rivers United, 2021 champions Akwa United, Abia Warriors, Kwara United and Uyo-based Dakkada.

Lobi Stars explain their appalling designs

According to a circular by Lobi Stars Football Club, "the much talked about Jersey's Unity colour embraces the three major tribes in Benue State, Nigeria inclusive."

The club also stated clearly that the significance of the jersey is non-partisan but further strengthens the unity as preached by the Benue State's incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom.

Like many clubs in Nigeria, Lobi Stars are owned by their state government, meaning that all administrative decisions for the club come from above.

The Tivs, the Idomas and the Igedes make up the three major tribes in Benue State in Nigeria's North central region.

Lobi Stars home and away jerseys in the 2020/21 NPFL season

These tribes are fondly represented by the colours: Black and White (Tiv), Red and Black (Idoma), and Blue and Black (Igede).

It is these colours that have over the years, independently been the concept behind Lobi Stars' home and away jerseys. 

This year, however, things changed, with Lobi Stars attempting at using a bit of everything - including colours of its country of origin - to come up with a 'great idea' for a home kit - the "unity jersey."

Arrangement of the jersey's colours, broken down

Lobi Stars' official kit for the 2023 NPFL season [Image: Lobi Stars FC]
  • The first green horizontal stripe, the white in between, and the succeeding green horizontal stripe - REPRESENT NIGERIA.
  • The first black horizontal stripe, the white in between, and the succeeding black horizontal stripe - REPRESENT TIV.
  • The first red horizontal stripe, the black in between, and the succeeding red horizontal stripe - REPRESENT IDOMA
  • The first blue horizontal stripe, the black in between, and the bottom blue horizontal stripe - REPRESENT IGEDE

But while negative reactions towards the 2023 home jersey continue to rise, Lobi Stars in their response to the public opinions has called for unison in reception, "let's embrace the jersey," they said.

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