National Football League expands to Kenya

Posted: Apr 11, 2023 09:48 Posted by Lea Hogg
Category: Africa, Events, Sportsbetting,
Posted: Apr 11, 2023 09:48 Category: Africa, Events, Sportsbetting, Posted by Lea Hogg

The National Football League’s Africa programme will be rolled out to Kenya announced NFL Europe and Africa head Brett Gosper. He said that the strategic growth of NFL Africa is very important to the League in its vision for global strategic expansion.

NFL is hosting a talent identification camp followed by a football showcase in Nairobi Kenya this week with a view to spot the best talent and identify up-and-coming future football ‘stars’ and engage the growing football fanbase in Africa.

The NFL events this week will take place at the Kasarani Sports Complex, Nairobi, supported by the Kenyan Government and the Kenya Academy of Sports.

The ‘NFL Africa’ program is set to expand to Kenya as the League continues to invest in growing the game at all levels across the continent. Our footprint in Africa is an important part of our vision and we are excited to expand NFL Africa into Kenya. We look forward to creating opportunities for the next generation of African players and fans to engage in the sport” Brett Gosper – Head of NFL Europe and Africa

In another initiative to increase the popularity of football around the world, NFL hopes to inspire more young people to play the sport and benefit from NFL’s large global network of like-minded enthusiasts.

Talent identification camp

There are over 125 NFL players in the US of African descent from 15 countries across the African continent. The talent identification camp promises to spot new talent amongst 29 participants aged between 16 and 21. The NFL showcase will give them an opportunity to bring their skills to the forefront and have a chance to qualify for the NFL International Combine, NFL International Player Pathway Program, or the opportunity to join the NFL Academy.

In its search for international athletes, players will have the opportunity to see Super Bowl champion Osi Umenyiora in action. He was born in the UK to Nigerian parents and is considered to be one of NFL’s superstars.

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 and this is only the beginning.” Osi Umenyiora, Ambassador for NFL Africa

Other NFL players joining the NFL event in Nairobi this week are Brian Asamoah from Minnesota Vikings (Ghana), Arnold Ebiketie from Atlanta Falcons (Cameroon), Paulson Adebo from New Orleans Saints (Benin), Ikem Ekwonu from Carolina Panthers and Emmanuel Ogbah from Miami Dolphins (Nigeria).

The NFL Flag football showcase will introduce the game to young people from ten schools in Nairobi by hosting a 12-week training programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in an effort to encourage interest from  schools and communities to participate or follow the sport. The training sessions are designed for local teachers and the Kenya Federation of American Football to develop their coaching skills which can be passed on to young people through a focussed sports education programme in the country. The relatively new sport in Kenya will be celebrated with a tournament later in the year once the training programme is complete.

One of the fastest growing sports globally

The NFL Flag is one of the fastest growing sports globally because it is considered fun and exciting. Female participation is the fastest growing aspect of the sport.

Flag football is played by more than 20 million people across 100 countries. Young people who enrol for training are educated in sportsmanship, teamwork and developing friendships. The expansion programme into Kenya follows the success of a similar programme that was rolled out in Ghana in 2022. This included identification camps, NFL Flag Football training and fan events that were held in Ghana. The events led to the Ghana NFL Flag Football team represent the country in the NFL International Flag Football Championships at the 2023 Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas. It was surprising that although the Ghana team were new to the game months ahead of the championships, they made it to the semi-finals. They were amongst 10 more experienced teams.

NFL International Player Pathway

Established in 2017, the NFL International Player Pathway provides the most talented international athletes with opportunities to compete on the NFL roster. Its aim is to increase international participation.

Since its inception, 29 international players have signed with NFL teams. There are currently 13 IPP athletes on NFL rosters, with four of these on their team’s active roster – Jordan Mailata (Australia – Philadelphia Eagles), Efe Obada (UK – Washington Commanders), Jakob Johnson (Germany – Las Vegas Raiders) and David Bada (Germany – Washington Commanders).

NFL Academy

The NFL Academy was established in 2019. It is a major initiative by the NFL and aims to create life-changing opportunities for young people all around the world through American Football.

The NFL Academy, based at Loughborough Sport, UK, offers young athletes between the age of 16 and 19 from different countries around the world the opportunity to combine education with life skills in an  intensive sports training programme under the guidance of full-time professional coaches.


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