The Football Foundation for Africa (FFA)
Dear NMKR community,
The FFA as an organization is committed to developing football in Africa through various initiatives, including providing quality training and education opportunities for young African footballers.
We sat down with Brian to learn more about his journey in setting up the FFA, what drives him to continue pushing for positive change in African football, and his vision for the future of the sport on the continent. NMKR is closely working with Brian and his team to explore potential use cases of blockchain technology in African football. Let's take a look at what Brian has to say!
NMKR: What inspired you to start developing the FFA? Please tell us what makes it so special.
Brian: I observed that despite the talent and passion Africa is famous for, the sport was not offering young people quality opportunities. Many youths are committing time and energy pursuing football careers but very few make it professionally. I set up the FFA with the objective of driving more resources into grassroots football primarily focusing on education, infrastructure and governance. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of opportunities in football and through football for the youths of Africa.
NMKR: What are the major challenges you're facing right now? We would like to know about your team's plans to overcome them.
Brian: The major challenge we are facing at the moment is mobilizing (financial) resources to execute our plans. We aim to create a self-sustaining business despite being a ‘foundation’ and that means engaging potential partners and sponsors for funding. Due to the reputational risk, it’s very difficult to get an audience with private sector players and government. However, we have worked within our resources to build a strong brand with a solid body of work and we hope to change the narrative about football in Africa.
The other challenge is the limited human capacity on the continent. We do not have enough football/sports management professionals in Africa because traditionally the industry is eurocentric. Our educational institutions do not offer managerial science courses relating to sport. At FFA we are keen to reach more people with football/sports business education and we have an online live education program: The Africa Football Business Show, where we tackle various football management topics. We hope to inspire more people to learn how the sports business works and lead them to relevant resources to grow their knowledge and skills.
NMKR: What are you doing to get people to use or invest in your project? Please share some thoughts about your growth strategy.
Brian: Football/sports business is about visibility and how other brands leverage the same to grow their businesses - sponsorship and marketing. Beyond that we are trying to reposition football as a platform to human development, to reach as many youths as possible and equip them with skills they can use outside the pitch to participate more positively in building a society.
Our strategy is focused on the grassroots where we believe the real potential in terms of numbers lie. If we can come up with innovative business models and value propositions for people and organizations to invest in the grassroots then I believe we’ll have hit the jackpot. We are constantly exploring how we can position grassroots football for investment. It’s not easy to compete with elite sports locally and globally but I believe with time things will change especially as companies pivot towards people-centered purposeful strategies.
NMKR: What do you think about NMKR? Tell us what we can do for you in the long run so we both win!
Brian: I am just reacquainting myself with blockchain having explored it seriously back in 2014. In my conversations with NMKR COO Kristian Portz I get a sense of purpose behind what NMKR is doing - creating value first and then monetising/commercializing it for sustainability. Also Kristians approach of ”let’s explore how blockchain can solve your issues” as opposed to ”blockchain is the solution” is something that got me highly interested in NMKR.
If we can work together to come up with tools and an ecosystem that grassroot football communities (academies and clubs) can use to drive their economic growth, I believe we both stand to win in the long run.
The core of FFA’s work is an initiative called Africa Football for Development Network where our goal is to create Safe, Smart and Sustainable (SSS) grassroots football communities. I believe this is where blockchain can find applications and NMKR can help us to get the technology for that implemented. In the process, NMKR will grow its market in Africa and its set of tools to apply in other markets.
NMKR: What's your vision for the future of blockchain/decentralized technologies like Cardano? Please tell us what you're doing to make that future a reality.
Brian: As mentioned, I have only just come back to the blockchain world. I actually left my IT career to focus on football and youths in Africa so I can’t claim to have this grand vision for the future of blockchain. What I am confident about is that blockchain offers a lot of possibilities in unlocking resources for grassroots football and improving the transparency and accountability in global value chains, including football.
From my initial research about Cardano and in conversations with our partners NMKR and The Sports DAO, I am impressed with the fact that they have focused on putting out the best sustainable technology and I think this will be critical in the mass adoption of blockchain technology.
Education! For me education is the key and I have started by educating myself and others about blockchain. We recently discussed “Blockchain Technology and Opportunities for African Sports” on The Africa Football Business Show with Kristian and Dr Lingling Liu, CEO of The Sports DAO, and it was an excellent eye-opener. We hope to continue with this approach and even deeper learning experiences as we develop our projects. We are just getting started.
NMKR: If our readers want to get in touch with you, where can they find you?
Brian: You can find us on the following channels: