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Africa football: For the love of the game

11.10.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Sports in Africa is like an old woman running a 100m meter race, nothing much and interesting to write home about. Although sports are an integral part of African society, the excitement, and economic benefits are not as intense as the game. Sports opens diverse benefits for a nation which includes economic development, personal development, which breads grounds for leadership, team spirit, happiness, etc.
Sports have a holistic impact. Let’s narrow it on football in Africa since it is the most popular sport. The game was first introduced by the Europeans to Africa in the 19th century and has since then been a major game up to date.

Over time the game has grown especially in the western world which has gained so much dominance, great love and most importantly huge economic benefits; the business of football.

Football in the western world is an entire business and industry which yields huge sums of money, subsidiary businesses is also derived from the game they include betting, selling off players, sponsorships from multimillion-dollar companies, etc. All these add up to the money-making factors of the football industry. These teams involved in the business of football are teams from other western countries who have been sharpened, trained and have gained strong support and love from all over the world. Teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, etc.

In Africa, these teams have huge support and greatly loved by people especially young men, the enthusiasm shown towards these teams, one would wonder whether supporters in Africa are being paid monthly to show such love towards these teams. It is almost like football is now a religion.It is rather unfortunate that little or no support is shown to home teams in different African countries. Such an irony!!! The love for the game is present in Africa you evidently can see it everywhere across the region where young children kicking balls around, sometimes by the street, school park, etc. but the love for home teams is nowhere to be found.

Most African countries have confederations that governs football activities but it is surprising to see that these councils haven’t been able to turn the clock around concerning African football. The further glory about football in Africa is a player been signed to a foreign team, where names like Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure and Mohammed Salah have been birth. So what exactly is wrong with the home teams and African football games?

In recent times, the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad made an appeal at the Choiseul Africa business forum in France that the football fraternity should use football in Africa as the main vehicle to push development, After all it is the game that brings people together .This clearly shows the progress of football in Africa is dwindling and needs help. Why has the love and support reduced for the home teams, you hardly hear young people talking or arguing about the best home teams or country players, the conversation is always centered on Lionel Messi, Christian Ronaldo, Kante, Eden Hazard, etc.

Here are a few reasons why the lyrics of the football song in Africa has gone sour

  • The failure to commercialize sport: The appeal and attractiveness of football in Europe makes the business side of the game, which is how the governing bodies make money to pay players well, provide better stadiums and infrastructure, shoot fancy videos, and provide better footballs kits and tools to make the game attractive. The different governing bodies present in the Africa countries should devise a way of making profits from the game, from the angle of selling match tickets, proper merchandize, and negotiations of sponsorships and partnerships, etc.

There should be a deliberate effort to calculate ways of making investment and making financial gains in sports. With such failure, most of our talents will always be looking overseas for a foreign team to sign them off. Because the Africa team don’t have enough money to pay them well this also leads to scam and fraudulent activities from agents who promise young talents to get them into big clubs.

  • The failure to invest in the game, and the players: In every industry or business the failure to invest in your workers always leads to doom, same with sports. It is clear some of these home players have the talents to reign in the football industry home and abroad, but when they lack certain standard training, knowledge, and skills, these talents die off and they gradually become dormant in the industry.

That is why there is a great need for the home team to invest highly in the talents and skills of players. This aspect of the sports we rarely see, in Africa teams in the long run, players become less sharpen where there is nothing special or interesting to talk about especially about their talents

  • The failure to create interesting campaigns and marketing strategies for the game:  The lack of the ability to sell the game, is killing the game. The governing body should develop strategic and creative campaigns to sell the football, to make it appealing, attractive, and building excitement for it. Some of these home games you hardly see any form of campaigns adverting about it. All these factors need to be considered, we as a continent can gain so much economic, and social benefits from sports, especially football.

What exactly will be the responsibility of these governing institutions that oversee football in Africa, if they can’t bring these factors to life.  In time past, former president of the Ghana football association Kwesi Nyantakyi was caught on video in engaging in fraudulent activities and corruption in the football game.

Is that what these governing bodies are all about?  We believe there is still hope and a thin string of love for African football exist. The different football federations across regions should come together and devise deliberate efforts and  actions to enrich African football.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo credit: google image/ illustration

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