Nigeria’s blushes spared after athletes arrive at Commonwealth Games with no kit
The manager of the sportswear manufacturer thought it was a prank when he was asked to make make 200 pieces of kit.
Nigeria’s team takes part in the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England, on 28 July 2022. Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP
A British sportswear manufacturer had to answer an SOS call from Nigeria’s Commonwealth Games team after they were left with no kit.
Gino Ruffinato, manager of the MG Sportswear firm, which is based in a town near host city Birmingham, at first thought it was a “wind-up” before launching his 14 staff into action.
“As it progressed I started getting emails with orders on, so at that point I thought, hang on, I think this is serious,” he told the BBC.
“When they hit us with the deadline saying it needs to be there for Friday and today was Tuesday… there’s all the fabric, the print, the designs to get out in two days. It was a bit hair-raising.”
His team had to make 200 pieces of kit including running vests and shorts, staff tracksuits and even 400 Nigerian badges after the African squad said they were let down by suppliers.
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Ruffinato said it had been “panic stations” but his staff had embraced the challenge.
He said he would pay even keener attention to the Games after providing the emergency help.
“I still pinch myself – I’ll be looking on the telly and seeing the MG Sportswear brand for a national team,” he said.