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Globalization of sport: Will Africa finally wake up?

21.04.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
On a global scale today, we cannot talk about the sports without referring to Africa. Whether they are individual or collective disciplines, the continent is represented by talent recognized in almost all disciplines. Despite this fact, the continent remains a passive participant in the sports sector. In recent decades, while the African continent represents one of the most important talent nurseries, it still fails to find a place on the podium of the globalization of sport.

Based on the fact that fourteen of the 23 players on the French team who beat Croatia in the final of the 2018 World Cup have African origins, Nicolas Maduro launched:

“The France team looked like an African team. In truth, they are African immigrants who arrived in France. (…) Africa has been so despised and, in this World Cup, France wins thanks to African players or the sons of Africans “.

If the remarks of Nicolas Maduro did not fail to make a sensation, Ali Motahari, vice-president of the Iranian parliament indicated on instagram:

“Among the teams of the World Cup, we can see those who profit from players of other nationalities, justifying that these players have the nationality of the country. This makes unfair competition between nations. For example, the team of France, in which there is a considerable number of players of various nationalities, is not really the team of France. It is the team of France and its former African colonies.”

It must be acknowledged that Maduro and Motahari’s remarks contain a certain amount of truth, due to the fact that what these two political personalities do is not limited to national teams. Each year, thousands of young people leave the African continent to join football clubs abroad. Most often, some manage to realize their dreams. In basketball, this is the case, for example, Bismarck Biyombo, who officiates as the pivot of the Charlotte Hornets. In another case, Cheick Diallo, who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans and the Douala (Cameroon) native Pascal Siakam, is the pride of the Toronto Raptors.

In football, Africans are also shinning like Mohamed Salah in Liverpool, Kalidou Koulibaly, player of Naples and Cedric Bakambu in Beijing Guoan. However, history reminds us that during slavery, the African continent supplied mankind with manpower. Today, it is thanks to Africa that important agricultural and mining raw materials are supplied to the world and sporting nations also benefit from Africa.

However, it is evident that a large number of African players trying to make a career in Europe quickly disappear from this discipline. There are many reasons for this, but often they have to overcome enormous difficulties to find a place in the football sector. There are also corrupt practices perpetrated by some of the sports agents, which make the players to face a lot of difficulties mentally and physically etc.

During his July 2018 trip to Nigeria, the French president said:

“The young people who are now migrating come from Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea; countries that are not at war. And young people who migrate are not the poorest of these countries. They need their countries to help them create new opportunities. So we encourage education, especially the education of young girls to give them opportunities in the economy, in sport, in culture, so as to help them build a destiny and be proud of their country “.

On the occasion of the assessment of his eight years as the head of state of Niger, President Mohammad Issoufou said in a recent interview:

“My conviction is that Africa will continue to be a reservoir of migrants, as long as it remains a simple reservoir of raw materials that are not valued […]. The solution to this phenomenon lies in the on-site processing of our raw materials. This will provide jobs for our youth.”

During his speech, the strong man from Niamey took the opportunity to beckon on his African peers to make industrialization a priority. According to the Nigerian Supreme Court, this approach could be further facilitated by the implementation of the African Free Trade Accord or by the various development programs carried out all over the Continent. Of course, it is true that despite the irregular emigration by African athletes in search of opportunities, most African countries now organize national championships. Presently, sports federations are becoming more active and better structured. However, the flight of African prodigies to European clubs is a phenomenon that continues to seriously hinder sport development policies in Africa.

Despite the fact that the African sports market is showing signs of progress, African states are still reluctant and find it difficult to create opportunities. Meanwhile, some companies are already in sports by training and employing personnel with the necessary skills and technical know-how with aims to increase their profit in Africa.

Last year, Emmanuel Macron welcomed his Liberian counterpart at the Elysee Palace. During the exchange visit between the two parties, the French authorities strongly emphasized on the importance of developing initiatives focused on the promotion of sport in Africa. A few days before the meeting between the two heads of state, Laura Flessel inaugurated an urban stadium financed by France, intended for the Rwandan youth sporting activities. In the same vein, a promotional contract between the Kigali power and the English club Arsenal was signed. In Rwanda, the investment promotion agency estimates that the $40 million invested in this project will yield ten times more by 2024. Like Rwanda, France signed a partnership in 2018 with the American basketball league. The partnership aims to promote social cohesion in Africa. As part of this partnership, France intends to provide basketball courts in Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.

Since these countries have common socioeconomic setbacks, this is a commercial niche because the provision of these basketball facilities will also bring in education, health and sports nurturing programs. As a result of this promising economic venture, PSG’s football department has signed an exclusive partnership contract with ex-basketball player Michael Jordan, through which PSG will enjoy many opportunities abroad. Paris Saint-Germain has indicated that 52 countries are already part of the buyers of its online store and that half of its turnover now comes from abroad.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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