Part of the thrill of celebrating a FIFA World Cup is the joy of discovering which jersey your National Team will wear at the tournament. An event of such magnitude always deserves a special jersey for the tournament. However, in Qatar 2022 there would be a team that would break this trend, Canada.
The main creators of jerseys in the world, Nike, Adidas and Puma, have already launched the jerseys of those National Teams with which they have a contract to wear them in Qatar 2022. United States, France, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina... but no news from Canada.
This is surprising given that after 36 long years of absence from a FIFA World Cup, the Maple Leafs have managed to position themselves at the top of CONCACAF, ahead of giants Mexico and the USMNT, for a place in Qatar 2022. So why does it look like Canada won't have a new jersey model for soccer's biggest tournament?
The commercial partnership between Canada and Nike
From 2011 to 2018, Canada was dressed by Umbro. Prior to this, the Maple Leafs' jersey suppliers were Score and, in two stages, Adidas, who manufactured the jersey with which the North American team competed in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, its only participation in this tournament so far.
Thus, in December 2018, the beginning of the partnership between Nike and Canada was announced. It was the first time in history that this company would work with the Canadians. Somehow, the glorious days lived by the fans of that country to see their team qualify for Qatar 2022 will always have the tick company as a key part of their memory.
What supposedly happened between Nike and Canada for there to be no new jersey for Qatar 2022?
At the outset, it should be noted that the following is a theory, a speculation based on statements. Nothing concrete. In fact, for certain, there is still no official announcement either that Canada will not have a new jersey for the upcoming FIFA World Cup or why this happened.
However, it is impossible not to point out that the vast majority of qualified teams have already released their jerseys for Qatar 2022, or are in the process of doing so, and Canada has remained quiet and silent. With almost two months to go before the start of the tournament, this is a disturbing situation.
Canada Soccer general secretary Earl Cochrane told The Athletic that creating a new jersey for a National Team, especially one for an event like the World Cup, is a process that takes many years. The aforementioned media points out that it would take a company like Nike at least 18 months to accomplish this task.
If the launches of the new jerseys for Qatar 2022 of the qualified National Teams have taken place mainly in the months of August and September, the creation process should have started, then, by March 2021, a date when Canada was not yet certain that its place in the World Cup would be achieved.
The alleged reason why Canada would not wear a new jersey in the upcoming World Cup
This is where the speculation begins. In a statement from Canadian defender and national team member Sam Adekugbe, Hatayspor's (Turkey) player, reported by The Athletic, the reason Nike did not design a jersey for Canada is the Canadian Soccer Association's lack of confidence in finally qualifying for a World Cup after 36 years in the shadows.
"I just feel like every team should get a new kit for the World Cup because it’s a symbolic event. I don’t hate it, but I would have liked to have gotten a new kit... I think that just shows that no one really believed in us. I don’t think Canada believed. But the only person who really believed was John Herdman (Canada's manager), and the group that was around," expressed Adekugbe.
In another revealing statement, also picked up by The Athletic, the aforementioned Canada Soccer general secretary Earl Cochrane reinforced Sam Adekugbe's point: "(The request for a jersey design for Qatar 2022) I don’t know why those conversations didn’t happen, or if they were even asked. I just know that when we qualified, the ability to turn around a specific jersey hadn’t been contemplated at that time.".
The resolution of this controversial chapter should be known soon, as with the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 approaching at a dizzying pace whether Canada will have a new jersey to wear at the tournament needs to be known sooner rather than later. If not, the team will be wearing the same jersey that earned a place in the hearts of its fans as the one used to qualify for a World Cup after a painful and prolonged absence.