Every time I visit the United States I return refreshed. This time around it is even better. My experience at the Havard Business School was not only refreshing but educative, enlightening and illuminating. I accepted to be a panelist at the African Business Club conference to discus the business of football in Africa because I knew I was going to learn from the process. I also knew that in looking at the football business in Africa, I would have to look at it first through the prism of my own personal experiences in Nigeria where I have been doing football business for the past two decades. If my experiences in Nigeria and researching how the football business is done elsewhere are anything to go by, my contributions at the conference would be very limited because the football business in Nigeria is yet to really take off. Be that as it may, the conference went even better than I thought.

So, I went, I saw and I conquered my initial fears that I would be intimidated by the depth of the conversations as well as the reputation of Havard. Both invigorated me as I settled down to look at the issues through the prism of Nigerian football. Every panelist did the same being more conversant with the state of the football business in the country of their operations. In the course of the conversation we all found out that in the global football business there are very many similarities in the challenges countries face.

Most African countries are working hard to make improve their football standards and join in the ‘lucrative’ football business.

It goes without saying that the key to unlock the development of a viable football industry anywhere in the world is the Player. The most successful clubs in the world presently spend between 60 and 70 percent of their gross earnings on players’ wages and transfer fees. Thats where the bulk of football money goes. Africa must, therefore, continue to churn out exceptionally gifted players that will add their unique flavour to the global game so that the money may continue to flow in its direction. Many such players have graced the global football scene already, made their mark and set the stage for the football business to sprout in the African continent. The administrators did not latch onto the opportunities by creating a bridge to connect the achievements of the players abroad with the domestic clubs, the domestic leagues and even the national teams. Presently, the effect of African players is more to grow the football business in Europe where they play, and less in their own country where they come from. The impact must be extended to Africa and not necessarily shifted from Europe.

Meanwhile, the question is this: what are African countries doing to use player-power to drive the evolution of the football business in the continent? Click here to read the complete article

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