Accra, Ghana —
It was all fun and euphoria on the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, where fans of the National Football League, the NFL, assembled to satisfy with football athletes, stars and legends of the sport.
That is the primary time the NFL has held an event in Africa as a part of its goal to see the game grow outside of america. In accordance with NFL International’s chief operating officer, Damani Leech, the league hopes to extend the variety of players from Africa and construct its foreign fan base.
“The U.N. projects that in the subsequent 30 years, half the world’s population growth goes to come back from Africa,” Leech said. “So, an increasing number of young people within the continent, rapid urbanization, an increasing number of people moving into the cities, becoming consumers of sports and entertainment. And as that grows and develops, we wish the NFL to be within the position to grow and develop with it.”
The weeklong event was dubbed NFL Africa: The Touchdown and hosted 49 athletes from seven African countries. The athletes camped and trained with skilled players from the NFL, including Ghana’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
The training camp is a component of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, IPPP, which seeks to discover foreign talent and integrate them into the league.
Nigeria’s Osi Umenyiora is a two-time NFL champion with the Latest York Giants and a pacesetter behind the talent search in Africa. He said his goal is to make champions of African athletes.
“We have now over 100 players of African descent within the NFL without delay, and in the event you take a look at the trends, you’ll probably see that perhaps 10 percent of the NFL labor force might be coming from Africa pretty soon,” Umenyiora said. “After which also, all those guys desired to do something back home, but no person really knew what to do. So, what higher thing to do than to come back over here, come home, and provides people a possibility to be exactly where you’re at. And that’s the whole premise behind every little thing we’re doing.”
In accordance with Elbert Allen, the pinnacle coach of the Ghana American Football Federation, this partnership with the NFL gives Ghanaian players a neater path to playing skilled football.
Head coach Elbert Allen of the Ghana American Football Federation said, “Before now, we’d just compete inside ourselves. And so now, they’ve the chance to get exposure to make it to the very best level of football, which is the NFL.”
One other a part of the project is to offer children the chance to learn flag football. In a two-day event, the NFL team trained sports teachers and students from 10 schools in Accra about this less violent version of the game.
Afia Law is the NFL’s head of community and grassroots development. She said this system encourages Ghanaian kids to play the game, each locally and abroad.
“From here, those schools are going to go away and deliver flag (football) and construct towards a tournament in November,” Law said. “So, we’ll hold our first ever Accra flag football championships, and inside that a team from those schools might be chosen to represent Ghana on the Pro Bowl in international division in 2023.”
Ghana’s vp, Mahamadu Bawumia, lauded the initiative and pledged the federal government’s support to assist the NFL to grow in Ghana.