The NFL is hosting a catalog of events in Kenya as the league continues to build infrastructure in Africa.
The NFL is returning to Africa after hosting its first-ever event on the continent last year in Ghana. This time, the NFL will spend six days (April 10-15) in Nairobi, Kenya, with an event list that includes a talent identification camp and flag football showcase.
Camp participants will compete for a chance to prove themselves on a bigger stage like the NFL International Combine, the NFL International Player Pathway Program, or by joining the NFL Academy in the UK. Former New York Giant Osi Umenyiora has been on the front lines of helping African prospects gain recognition. His ultimate goal is to one day see more players from African countries playing on Sundays. Umenyiora is of Nigerian descent. As it stands today, the league says it has over 125 players from 15 countries currently in the NFL.
“It has always been a dream of mine to bring the NFL to Africa and over the past couple of years The Uprise and NFL have made that dream a reality,” Umenyiora, NFL’s lead ambassador for NFL Africa, said in a release. “It’s been incredible to see the opportunities it has provided through the International Player Pathway Program, the NFL Academy and flag football, and this is only the beginning.”
Umenyiora told Boardroom previously that he hopes the league will host a game in Africa in the next 10-15 years. His reason for the delay is that Africa will need to first build a state-of-the-art stadium.
“Growing the NFL globally is a major strategic priority for the League and developing our footprint and fandom in Africa is an important part of this vision,” Brett Gosper, Head of NFL Europe & Africa, added in the release. “We are excited to expand NFL Africa into Kenya and look forward to creating opportunities for the next generation of African players and fans there to engage with our sport. From NFL Flag inspiring young people to play the game around the world, to building pathways for more international athletes to play in the NFL, there is a place in our sport for everyone.”
Gosper’s mention of flag football is on par with the NFL’s actions to grow the sport. It hopes for flag football to be a part of the 2028 Olympics.
Flag football requires less equipment and infrastructure than traditional football, making it an easier sport to build. Kenya has already bought into it. Dr. Doreen Odhiambo, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Academy of Sports, added in the release that KAS has engaged 10 schools from the Kasarani area to participate in a 12-week flag football program.
The NFL’s events in Kenya will take place at the Kasarani Sports Complex in Nairobi.
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