Press Release: American Football to touchdown on African shores!
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
“These scholarships could be life-changing opportunities for African athletes and open up a whole new range of possibilities for gifted youngsters on the continent.”
Johannesburg, 28 September 2020: Turning on the burners, shooting a gap in the African market and set for a first down, former American football university athlete Munya Maraire and the Lions’ rugby franchise’s former high-performance manager, Bart Schoeman, are teaming up to identify local talent for possible lucrative American football scholarships and opportunities in the United States.
Despite sharing a number of skills with rugby, American football has remained largely unknown and unexplored as an organised sport on the African continent. This is all about to change thanks to the partnership.
While baseball and basketball enjoy moderate followings in South Africa, American football has never before been an organised sporting code in South Africa or the African continent at large. Munya Maraire, who hails from Zimbabwe and is the CEO and founder of World Wide Scholarships (WWS Africa), played American football for Penn State University in Pennsylvania and is well versed in the common skills shared between rugby and the American game thanks to his southern African roots.
“I wanted to allow young African talent to get a foot in the door and to have the opportunity to explore scholarships and professional contracts abroad. To date we have placed more than a thousand young Africans in scholarships – mostly in the US – where they have a chance to compete and train with the world’s best,” says Maraire.
World Wide Scholarships hosts regular talent identification camps and has linkages with a number of major sporting organisations, such as AC Milan through the Lombardia Uno group. Scouting for gridiron talent in a country where young athletes would be hard-pressed to even find the right equipment illustrates the depth of the challenge.
Bart played a significant role in the rise of the Lions’ Super Rugby team which contested three consecutive finals from 2016 to 2018, and is the chairman of the SA Schools Challenge Trust. He heads up recruitment and career opportunities for young sportsmen in his company Sports Consult 365. “Bart is well respected for his ability to spot and groom young rugby talent, and we will be working together in a first for the African continent,” says Maraire.
Because South Africa enjoys a great reputation as the reigning world rugby champions, Schoeman says US universities take local rugby talent seriously. “We are working in collaboration with American universities and some NFL Hall of Fame personalities, so there is a lot of credibility in this programme. When we identify the kinds of athletic abilities that are suitable for the sport in the US, through a series of tests of skills and performance, we believe we will establish a talent pipeline that will grow each year,” says Schoeman.
Once African players begin to make their mark on the NFL, Maraire says public interest will snowball. “These scholarships could be life-changing opportunities for African athletes and open up a whole new range of possibilities for gifted youngsters on the continent.”
World Wide Scholarships is Africa's leading scholarship, development and opportunity linking organisation and is the only scholarship agency in Africa that is (National Collegiate Athletic Association) NCAA accredited. WWS has facilitated life-altering sponsorships and guidance for African talent for nearly two decades.
Maraire and Schoeman are in the end zone of finalising plans to hold a mega camp in December in South Africa, to identify talent for the gridiron.
Get ready for TOUCHDOWN!.