NFL’s Africa Program Expands to Nigeria

NFL’s Africa Program Expands to Nigeria
NFL’s Africa Program Expands to Nigeria

The National Football League’s Africa program is set to expand to Nigeria as the league continues to prioritize growing the game at all levels across the continent.

Activities will take place in Lagos, with a 3-day football talent identification camp as well as NFL Flag football activities beginning today through June 18 — underlining a commitment to developing more ways to serve athletes and fans in the country.  

“It’s truly an honor to be leading the NFL’s efforts across Africa and expand key programming into a fourth country across the continent, Nigeria – a place that is very close to my heart,” said two-time Super Bowl Champion and NFL’s Africa lead, Osi Umenyiora. “We’ve seen the incredible impact the program has had on young athletes’ lives to date, and we look forward to creating more opportunities for global talent to play the game and grow that impact in the years ahead.”

With more than 130 players of African descent (born in Africa or first generation born in the U.S.) from across the continent in the NFL, events taking place for promising young athletes in Nigeria will continue to advance pathways to play.

Twenty-one prospects from 10 countries across Africa will first take part in the 3-day NFL Combine-style football camp to showcase their skills, competing for invites to join the NFL Academy in Loughborough, U.K. or the International Player Pathway Program.

A number of current NFL players will join talent identification camp events in Lagos, including Cleveland Browns’ David Njoku, New York Giants’ Bobby Okereke and Kayvon Thibodeaux, Seattle Seahawks’ Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Free Agent Prince Tega ​Wanogho.

In collaboration with the Nigerian American Football Association (NAFA), an NFL Flag football tournament between 12 U14 local Nigerian school teams will follow in Lagos, as part of league efforts to continue to grow the game across the continent.

The NFL will also host a first-of-its-kind women’s flag football workout, with U.S. scholarships available for top athletes — offering talented women in Africa pathways to the game.

Fast, highly accessible and inclusive for all, flag football is spearheading extraordinary growth in participation globally — played by over 20 million people across 100 countries, with women and girls driving some of the sport’s fastest growth.

In partnership with the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the NFL is investing in the development and growth of flag football at grassroots and elite levels across the world ahead of the sport’s official debut in the LA 2028 Olympic Games.

The Cleveland Browns, who have marketing rights in Nigeria as part of the Global Markets Program, will support the events in Lagos by providing lanyards, sunglasses and additional gear to prospects and youth flag football players.

NFL Africa expansion throughout the continent follows a successful delivery of programming in Ghana in 2022 and Kenya and Cape Town in 2023, including talent identification camps, NFL Flag football clinics and fan events held each country.

Image courtesy Deposit Photos.

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