The NFL is headed to Africa.
The league announced Tuesday it plans to host a week of activities in Ghana starting on June 21 that includes an NFL Africa Camp hosted by former New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, a flag football day for children from 10 local schools hosted by the Ghana International School and a fan event.
"We look forward to hosting our first camp in Ghana and will look to activate in Nigeria and other African countries in the future," NFL Chief Operating Officer of International Damani Leech said in a statement. "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."
The NFL Africa Camp will feature 40 players from across the country selected by Umenyiora through his football program in Nigeria called "The Uprise." Three players from Umenyiora's program already signed with NFL teams this year after participating in the International Combine and the NFL's International Player Pathway Pro Day: Chigbo Roy Mbaeteka (New York Giants), Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi, (Arizona Cardinals), and Kehinde Hassan Oginni (Kansas City Chiefs).
"This is a truly remarkable initiative," Umenyiora said, via the NFL. "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."
Current NFL players with ties to Africa will also be in attendance during the week of events, including former 2021 first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye and former 2021 second-round pick by the Cleveland Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
The NFL's international expansion
The league's event in Africa is only the most recent international movement by the NFL.
Teams have played sparingly in Mexico since 2005 and in the United Kingdom since 2007, but the NFL announced in February that five international games would be played this upcoming season: Three in London, England, one in Munich, Germany and one in Mexico City, Mexico.
The NFL awarded international marketing rights to 18 teams in eight countries last year as well.
There have been rumblings of the NFL's desire to expand into Europe with a team in London, but the logistics of such a move dimmed the possiblity in 2021.
Players from across the world have also found their way to NFL through the league's International Player Pathway program. Since its inception in 2017, at least 50 players from 18 countries participated, according to the NFL.