Ghana Hosts NFL’s First African Improvement Camp

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Ghana Hosts NFL’s First African Development Camp


It was all enjoyable and euphoria on the Kempinski Lodge in Accra, the place followers of the Nationwide Soccer League, the NFL, assembled to satisfy with soccer athletes, stars and legends of the sport.

That is the primary time the NFL has held an occasion in Africa as a part of its purpose to see the game develop outdoors of america. In line with NFL Worldwide’s chief working officer, Damani Leech, the league hopes to extend the variety of gamers from Africa and construct its international fan base.

“The U.N. initiatives that within the subsequent 30 years, half the world’s inhabitants progress goes to come back from Africa,” Leech mentioned. “So, an increasing number of younger folks within the continent, speedy urbanization, an increasing number of folks transferring into the cities, turning into customers of sports activities and leisure. And as that grows and develops, we would like the NFL to be within the place to develop and develop with it.”

The weeklong occasion was dubbed NFL Africa: The Landing and hosted 49 athletes from seven African international locations. The athletes camped and educated with skilled gamers from the NFL, together with Ghana’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

The coaching camp is a part of the NFL’s Worldwide Participant Pathway Program, IPPP, which seeks to determine international expertise and combine them into the league.

Former New York Giants defensive finish Osi Umenyiora, proper, talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (proper) earlier than an NFL soccer sport between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers, Oct. 11, 2015

Nigeria’s Osi Umenyiora is a two-time NFL champion with the New York Giants and a pacesetter behind the expertise search in Africa. He mentioned his purpose is to make champions of African athletes.

“Now we have over 100 gamers of African descent within the NFL proper now, and in case you have a look at the traits, you’ll most likely see that possibly 10 % of the NFL labor power might be coming from Africa fairly quickly,” Umenyiora mentioned. “After which additionally, all these guys needed to do one thing again residence, however no one actually knew what to do. So, what higher factor to do than to come back over right here, come residence, and provides folks a possibility to be precisely the place you’re at. And that’s the complete premise behind every part we’re doing.”

In line with Elbert Allen, the pinnacle coach of the Ghana American Soccer Federation, this partnership with the NFL provides Ghanaian gamers a neater path to taking part in skilled soccer.

Head coach Elbert Allen of the Ghana American Soccer Federation mentioned, “Prior to now, we might simply compete inside ourselves. And so now, they’ve the chance to get publicity to make it to the best degree of soccer, which is the NFL.”

One other a part of the undertaking is to present youngsters the chance to study flag soccer. In a two-day occasion, the NFL group educated sports activities academics and college students from 10 colleges in Accra about this much less violent model of the game.

Afia Regulation is the NFL’s head of group and grassroots improvement. She mentioned this system encourages Ghanaian children to play the game, each regionally and overseas.

“From right here, these colleges are going to go away and ship flag (soccer) and construct in the direction of a event in November,” Regulation mentioned. “So, we’ll maintain our first ever Accra flag soccer championships, and inside {that a} group from these colleges might be chosen to symbolize Ghana on the Professional Bowl in worldwide division in 2023.”

Ghana’s vice chairman, Mahamadu Bawumia, lauded the initiative and pledged the federal government’s assist to assist the NFL to develop in Ghana.

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