The NFL is paving the way for African players with a development camp in Ghana.
Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who has Ghanaian roots, attended a camp last weekend in Ghana. The American National Football League has announced that a three-day camp will be held in Accra in June. It will feature players who have previously featured in regional events led by British-Nigerian Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Super Bowl-winning defensive end with the New York Giants.
While specific dates for the summer camp and a fan event have yet to be released, the camp has received the endorsement of Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
“Bringing the NFL to Africa has long been a dream of minesaid Umenyiora, whose parents are Nigerian. “Today, this dream is a reality. The opportunities available to so many Africans cannot be underestimated, and we are grateful to them. We can’t wait to show the world what we can do.”
Identify and develop talent
Umenyiora has established The Uprise, a football program in Nigeria, and has run regional camps in South Africa and Ghana, with an upcoming camp in Nigeria. Players who impress at all three camps will be invited to the NFL Camp in Accra. The idea is to better identify and develop talent in Africa.
Thanks to Umenyiora and The Uprise, three Nigerian athletes – Kehinde Hassan Oginni, Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka and Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi – had the opportunity to participate in the NFL’s International Combine in London last October. They were then selected to train in the United States under the International Player Pathway program.
“We are looking forward to hosting our first camp in Ghana and will be looking to expand to Nigeria and other African countries in the future.said Damani Leech, NFL chief operating officer for international events.
“We want to provide an opportunity for the next generation of African prospects to show… their talent. As we continue to look for ways to strengthen the NFL’s international player pipeline, we hope this camp and future camps will provide a path forward for aspiring players across the continent.” Damani Leech added.
“We are excited about the opportunity to identify talent to participate in international combinations, the International Player Pathway program and, for athletes aged 16-19, the opportunity to attend the NFL Academy in London.”
As the NFL searches for potential players around the world, it has held international combinations in the UK, Australia and Germany. This season, in addition to four regular season games in London, the NFL will play the regular season in Munich for the first time.