The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has made a strong case to the National Football League (NFL), the global governing body in charge of American professional football, to establish an NFL Africa Academy in Ghana to unearth and develop talents.
Dr Bawumia, who hosted a delegation of the NFL at the Jubilee House on Friday, stressed that Ghana, with a multi-talented youth, as well as being a peaceful and a business-friendly nation, is well-suited for an NFL Africa Academy to help unearth and develop talents for professional American and also create opportunities for the youth.
The visit by the American NFL delegation, follows a meeting in New York earlier this year between the Office of the Vice President and the NFL, which discussed potentials and opportunities in the NFL expanding its operations in Ghana for talent discovery and development.
Subsequent to the meeting, the NFL has selected Ghana to host an NFL Africa Camp in June this year, to identify talents for development.
Dr Bawumia expressed gratitude to the NFL for choosing Ghana to host the talent discovery NFL Africa Camp, adding that the platform will create opportunities for the youth of Ghana.
“I am happy that you have decided to make the NFL Africa Camp happen here in Ghana. It is an opportunity for young people in this country,” Dr Bawumia said.
“We have a very strong, athletic and intelligent youth who are waiting for such opportunities and I am sure once this comes and awareness grows, are going to take advantage of what is on offer to open doors for our young people”.
Alternative career paths
On the long-term promotion and development of NFL in Ghana and the African continent, Dr Bawumia noted that establishing an academy, in the model of a football academy, will be a great way developing NFL talents and also providing the youth alternative career paths through education and sports.
In this regard, Dr Bawumia urged the NFL to consider establishing the academy in Ghana, because the country offers many opportunities.
“Establishing the NFL Africa Academy here in the mould of a football academy like Right to Dream, will go a long way to help in the unearthing and development of talents, as well as providing alternative career pathways to the youth,” Dr Bawumia said.
“The talent is here across all sports. We have a very strong, athletic and intelligent youth who are waiting for such opportunities.”
“I am sure once this comes (establishing the academy) and awareness grows, we are going to take advantage of what is on offer, that is development of NFL talents and opening of doors for our youth.”
The Vice President assured the NFL delegation of government’s commitment to sports development, as well as its willingness to support positive sports initiatives, which open doors to the youth of the country.
“Our government is committed to supporting the promotion and development of sports, and we will support initiatives which will open up our sports and give our youth opportunities.”
Potential of sports
“You can count on my support for such sports initiatives. I am sports enthusiast, but I am also an economist and I see the potential of sports contributing to the growth of the economy and offering opportunities to the youth.”
The NFL delegation, led by its Chief Operating Officer, International commended Dr. Bawumia for showing keen interest in pushing for the presence of the NFL in Ghana to open new opportunities to Ghanaian youth.
They delegation also thanked him for the meeting with his office in New York, as well as welcome them to his office for further discussions.
The NFL delegation also included Ghanaian NFL star, Jeremy Owusu-Koramoah and two time Super Bowl winner, Nigerian Osi Umenyiora.