Over 200 youth showed up to play some American football at the Adjiringanor Football Park in East Legon this past weekend. The energy was filled with excitement as they came out to participate in the second annual Kile’s World Foundation Football Camp organized by Titans of Africa in partnership with Ryan M. Glover and his mother Tameka Foster Raymond. They wanted to give back to youth in Africa through sports and Ghana, was a great starting point since they have familial roots.
“We started the foundation in honour of my son Kile,” Foster Raymond said. Her son died in a tragic jet ski accident during a family gathering in 2012. “Kile did not play football himself, Kile was an artist and he loved to paint and sing and do theatre. But we wanted the organization to go beyond just what Kile liked.” She said they often do performing and fine arts camps but wanted to add the element of sports using football. “Football teaches a lot of discipline, it teaches a lot of focus and it also teaches comradery. You win as a team.”
American Football hasn’t been widely popular in Ghana, but continues to gain popularity as more people are giving a platform to the sport so that the next generation can become fans of the game. Mohammed Osman Nkosi is the President of Football Operations at Titans of Africa. He was heavily involved in organizing the camp and is an important part of promoting the sport in Ghana. “The Kile’s World Foundation camp was really successful. We saw over 200 kids attending and the best part is we were able to take them all through the basics and fundamentals of American football,” he said. “Some of the kids even want to subscribe for constant training to be involved in the sport. Through different platforms, Titans of Africa will provide opportunities for these kids.” This will be a key part of his continued efforts in promoting American football in Ghana.
Glover, who currently plays college football for UC Berkeley and has aspirations to play professionally in the NFL, believes in the potential for the sport to grow in Ghana. “Some of these young guys have excellent speed, good strength, very good endurance and that’s the number one thing,” he said. “Right now what I’m trying to do is spread the word about [American] football to Africa.” The Beyond the Return Secretariat and the Ghana Tourism Authority endorsed the event as an important part of giving back to the community and staying connected with the diaspora who are doing things to support the youth. With so many people in the global African diaspora expressing interest in Ghana, this is certainly an opportune time to connect with those already tied to the sport who share the passion and vision to grow American football in Ghana and other African countries.
The enthusiasm on the faces of the youth drove the energy for the entire day. They were all excited and had a wonderful time. “The whole point of this was to give the Ghanaian kids a great experience for the day,” Foster Raymond said.
Nkosi promises to work hard promoting the sport in Ghana, connecting with key supporters and making sure the youth are presented with the right opportunities so they can become a success playing football.
By: Ivy Prosper