The African Sports Venture (ASU) put together the 2-day Conference to bring to the fore, the position of African Sports, post Covid-19. The First day of the Conference witnessed several participants across the continent of Africa who spoke on various topics and how the Covid-19 Pandemic has affected sports tremendously in Africa.
The first Presenter, Barr. (Prince) Fred Nwoko gave an insight into the establishment of a Sports University which he has been working on in Delta State. This University is expected to commence in September, 2020 when it shall admit its first intakes. The new University is expected to combine education with sports for the overall development of Nigerian students.
Mr. Gabriel Ajala, spoke on Sponsorship and Fund raising for African Sports. In his presentation, he reasoned that sponsorship for sports has been a major challenge on the continent and this situation has been further exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. To solve this problem therefore, he recommended the following: ❖ Resource efficiency in maximizing waste of money ❖ Continuous advocacy through the use of cooperate brands that have heavy influence on the society. ❖ Increased corporate social responsibility for sports to meaningfully galvanize the energy of our youth; and ❖ Strategy Partnership.
He pointed out further that the delivery of sports now has changed completely with the Covid-19 and therefore, African sports needs to re-strategize since companies are now freezing their budgets especially for sports, some as much as 50%. The way forward therefore, is for Africa to bring sports into the digital and technological space. This is because sponsors now need data to support their business decisions.
In addition to this, Sports Administrators need to be more creative and engage in more strategic partnership. He recommended that since there is a lot of construction work going on in the Continent, efforts should be made to push Sports into the construction industry for support.
The Conference also discussed on the future of E-Sports in Africa and agreed that African nations can make money from e-sports. It also recommended that there are potentials in African Traditional Sports which should be re-packaged into e-sports. As the COVID-19 has slowed down outdoors sporting activities, Africa should use the opportunity to re-structure her sports into television, such that fans and spectators can follow their passion from the comfort of their homes while paying to do so.
The Conference noted that most stadia across Africa only have sporting activity happening in them and do not benefit from revenue that would have accrued to them from non-sporting activities. This narrative should change, henceforward.
This section brought in some athletes to speak on issues around their sports. Athletes who were on this forum spoke extensively on how to manage sports training in the Covid-19 era and the need to continue training in the confines of their immediate environment. They explained how though the situation was with the average athlete, in view of economic adversity brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
They also spoke on the need for African to have continuity in sports governance and administration. They bemoan the situation where Ministers of Sports in Africa are frequently changed, a this situation they believe does not encourage the development of sports in the Continent, as each new Minister would not continue with the policy and programmes of his successor, but rather introduces his. Mr. Seyi Ogunleye (a Nigerian Athlete) singled out the contributions of the new Minister of Sports in Nigeria, Hon. Sunday Dare for the giant strides he has brought to the sports sector since his assumption in office, especially on his athletes-centered initiatives.
Mr. Emeka Eyandike advised Sports Administrators to continuously engage sports fans and spectators. He opined that African Sports needs to create a unique content and bring such to the digital space especially now that Covid-19 has
reduced sports and spectators presence in the stadium. He also observed that Africa has not yet tapped into the potentials available to sports in the digital space. He advised that countries should work towards discouraging the big sponsors in Africa from going outside of the Continent to sponsor sports by providing good content internally. This ended the 1st day of the forum after about four (4) hours.
The day 2 activity started with the Honourable Ministers of Sports in Africa Roundtable discussion. His Excellency, George Opone Weah, the President of Liberia gave the Keynote Address as a prelude to the Ministers’ discussion.
In his Keynote Address, he x-rayed the history of Covid-19 Pandemic in Africa and its each socio-economic impact. He reasoned that Sports is in a peculiar situation during this period as Covoid-19 intervention funds do not include sports. He advised that Africa must connect entertainment (Music) to the Sports industry.
The Ministers’ forum, had three (3) Honourable Ministers from, Liberia, South Sudan and Nigeria, who signed on to the conference. They individually spoke about sports in their respective countries and efforts been made to develop the sector.
The Honourbale Minister of Youth and Sports Development of Nigeria, Hon. Sunday Dare, who was represented, gave a brief of his activities since assumption of office to include but not limited to the following: ❖ The adoption initiative which covers the athletes, Teams, Stadium, Sports Centers and Sports Pitches, which are already gaining traction among Sports
Philanthropists and corporate Nigerian. ❖ The new focus on athletes’ issues and reforms aimed at providing a robust welfare for Nigerian athletes. ❖ The introduction of a Sports Relief Fund, where over 220 athletes from 38 National Sports Federations were given palliatives in the wake of Covid-19. This fund, which is fully supported by private individuals brought the needed succour to Nigerian athletes. In the same connection, the Hon. Minister has consistently reached out to ex-athletes in Nigeria who have Medical and economic issues. This financial assistance he also extends to their parents, spouses and family. ❖ Continuous engagement of Critical Stakeholders in sports to identify the key problem areas and where intervention is needed. ❖ Reconnecting the organized Private Sector and Corporate Nigeria to Sports in the area of sponsorship and athletes’ support. ❖ Transparency and Accountability in the governance of Sports. ❖ Initiating a robust review of the Nigeria National Sports Policy with concerned Stakeholders in becoming a National Sports Industry Policy, which will project the business aspect of Sports. ❖ Revamping the Road Races culture in Nigeria with particular emphasis on middle and long distance races. This focus is attempt to bring the high altitude training centres in Mambilla, Taraba State and Pankshin, Plateau State to national consciousness in other to give the Central and East African Countries a good run for their money. ❖ The administration of Hon. Sunday Dare in Nigeria has been in the fore-front of Youth Empowerment and job creation through continuous
training in digital and entrepreneurial skills to reposition the youth of Nigeria in the emerging markets through the over 42 Skills and vocational Centres spread across the 6 geo-political zones of the country. ❖ The Ministry under his watch is also assisting the youth to set up small and medium scale enterprises and connecting them to accessing the Federal Government funding for small and medium scale enterprises.
From the Minister Round-table discussion, the session went into the Business of Football in post Covid-19. There were Football experts brought in to speak on this subject, notable among them was Chief Segun Odegbami, who acknowledged that the business of sports has not yet taken its footing in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of African Sports Venture, Mr. Leslie Koroma, informed that there will be a second round of this Conference between 23rd and 24th of October, 2020 to be tagged ‘African Sports Summit and Expo’ that will come in as a Business Conference. He also informed the Forum that there is a proposal on the table for the hosting of the First African Ninja Warriors which will take place in Liberia later in the year.

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