The NFL will host its first official events to take place in Africa beginning June 21 in Ghana. The week of activities -- NFL Africa: The Touchdown -- includes a talent identification camp, a fan event and a flag football clinic, and underscores the NFL's commitment to develop more ways to serve its growing fan base across the continent.
With more than 100 players of African descent (born in Africa or first generation born in the U.S.), the League will highlight the contributions of its African players, introduce the sport to the next generation of fans and look to activate in other African countries in the future.
Current NFL players will take part on-site including Seattle Seahawks Uchenna Nwosu (Nigeria), Houston Texans Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Nigeria), Cleveland Browns Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Ghana), and Indianapolis Colts Kwity Paye (Liberia), as well as NFL Legends Mathias Kiwanuka (Uganda), Roman Oben (Cameroon), and Osi Umenyiora (Nigeria).
As the League looks to further identify and develop more talent in Africa, the NFL will host its first NFL Africa Camp, featuring 40 players from across Africa. The camp will take place on June 21 and 22 with players that were selected after participating in regional camps led by Osi Umenyiora, NFL Legend and two-time Super Bowl winning defensive end with the New York Giants.
"This is a truly remarkable initiative," said Umenyiora. "This camp is not only giving opportunities to great African athletes, it is also highlighting the incredible African athletes already in the NFL. The positive impact of this cannot be overstated."
Umenyiora established The Uprise, a football program in Nigeria that has held regional camps in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa in recent months. Players that stood out were invited to the NFL's upcoming camp, which will be held in Ghana.
"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 participate in International Combines, the International Player Pathway program, and for those athletes ages 16 to 19, there's the opportunity to attend the NFL Academy in London."
This year, three players that were discovered through The Uprise, and went on to participate in the International Combine and IPP Pro Day, have signed with NFL teams -- Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka (New York Giants), Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi, (Arizona Cardinals), and Kehinde Hassan Oginni (Kansas City Chiefs).
Events in Ghana continue on Saturday, June 25, when the NFL will host an NFL FLAG Day at the Ghana International School in conjunction with the Ghana American Football Federation (GAFF). Students from 10 local schools, ages 12 to 14, will participate. NFL FLAG is a fun and accessible non-contact program. Participants will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals from current and former NFL players, as well as lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship.
On Sunday, June 26, NFL Fan Zone will bring attendees up close to the NFL from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra in Ghana. The free event will offer fans the opportunity to interact with current NFL players and legends while participating in interactive games and activations by NFL partners including EA Madden, Mitchell & Ness and Wilson Football. NFL Fan Zone will also feature a display showcasing Super Bowl rings and the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The NFL FLAG Day and NFL Fan Zone will also feature Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, as well as prizes and giveaways from the team. The club's Senior Vice President of Media & Marketing, Jen Kavanaugh, will also be in attendance as the Eagles are the first NFL club to enter a market in Africa through the International HMA initiative and can activate in Ghana as of June 1.
NFL Network will follow the journey of NFL players and legends as they participate in events in Ghana, as well as in cultural experiences across Accra and the Cape Coast, for an upcoming feature.
The NFL strives to provide a positive impact on local communities following its events in cities around the world. Details of a project in Accra will be announced during the week's events.