Osi Umenyiora to lead NFL effort in talent search in Africa

The NFL is headed to Africa, and Osi Umenyiora can’t wait.

Umenyiora, a former All-Pro defensive end and two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants who is the Nigerian descent, has been a leading voice in the league’s efforts to establish a foothold on the continent. Umenyiora will be part of an NFL contingent traveling to Ghana during the league’s first official events during the weeklong activities, beginning June 21.

A talent identification camp will be the centerpiece of the program, which is also scheduled to include a fan event and a flag football clinic. There are more than 100 players of African descent (either born in Africa or first generation born in the United States) on NFL rosters, according to the league.

With its upcoming program, the NFL is not dipping its toe into Africa, Umenyiora told Andscape. Rather the league is diving in – and that’s the right thing to do, according to the former star pass rusher.

“This is unbelievable, just starting to get the NFL’s entire approach, and going in like this is the best way to do it,” said Umenyiora, who was born in London to Nigerian parents and spent seven years in his childhood in Nigeria, telling Andscape General Chat Chat Lounge

“You see the number of athletes we have in the NFL right now in the African descent. There are a lot, and the winds are blowing even closer in that direction. We’ve seen what the NBA has done in terms of its investment in Africa. There is no reason why we should not be in full force on the ground there as well. And that is exactly what we are going to do. “

The NBA already has a very strong presence in Africa. In 2021, the league created a new entity to oversee its business in Africa. The partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is reportedly valuable at about $ 1 billion.

As part of the first NFL prospect camp in Africa, player-personnel officials will evaluate 40 players during a two-day process in Ghana. Players were selected after participating in regional camps under the direction of Umenyiora.

“We look forward to hosting our first camp in Ghana and will look to activate in Nigeria and other African countries in the future,” said Damani Leech, NFL chief operating officer of International. “We want to provide an opportunity for the next generation of African prospects to showcase and further develop their talent.

“As we continue to look for ways to strengthen the pipeline of international players, we hope this camp, and future camps, provide a path for aspiring players from across the continent. Top talent from the camp could be invited to the International Combines, The International Player Pathway program, and for those athletes ages 16 to 19, there is an opportunity to attend the NFL Academy in London. “

In Nigeria, Umenyiora founded The Uprise, a football development program for prospects ages 16 to 22. Umenyiora conducted additional camps in Ghana and South Africa as well.

This year, three prospects who participated in Umenyiora’s regional camps – then received invitations to the NFL’s international combine and its international player pathway program pro day – signed with NFL teams: Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka (Giants), Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi (Arizona Cardinals). ) and Kehinde Hassan Oginni (Kansas City Chiefs).

In addition to Umenyiora, former NFL players Mathias Kiwanuka (Uganda) and Roman Oben (Cameroon) are scheduled to be in the league’s traveling party. Current players expected to attend events include Uchenna Nwosu (Nigeria) of the Seattle Seahawks, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Nigeria) of the Houston Texans, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Ghana) of the Cleveland Browns and Kwity Paye (Liberia) of the Indianapolis Colts.

“We’re doing this the right way,” Umenyiora said. “This is where we need to be.”

General Chat Chat Lounge

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