THERE is no denying the fact that the English Premier League (EPL) is the most followed league in the world, with an unrivalled television viewership of over 4 billion. It is a lucrative league, played by the world’s best footballing talents drawn from across the globe. The structures are also immense, with setups starting from lower tiers all the way to the premier league, which is the topmost level in English football. But what is the EPL’s involvement in African football?
The English Premier League has played a significant role in the development of African football over the years. The league, which is viewed as the ultimate goal for any professional player, whether from Africa or from any other league outside England, is made up of the world’s top talent. A big number of African players are currently playing for top sides in the EPL, including the newly-crowned African Footballer of the Year, Sadio Mane, a Senegalese who turns up for English giants Liverpool.
Another indirect involvement has been with betting brands, for instance, English Premier League football betting with Betway has grown in the continent over the last few years. That makes it possible for African betting fans to get rewards for following their favourite players through winning.
Interestingly, the final list of three nominees for the African Footballer of the Year crown was made up of EPL players; Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah of Liverpool, and Riyad Mahrez who plays for Manchester City. Other notable African players in the English Premier League include; Naby Keita (Guinea and Liverpool), Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Ihenacho (Nigeria and Leicester), Jordan Ayew (Ghana and Crystal Palace), Wilfred Zaha (Ivory Coast and Crystal Palace), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Arsenal), Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast and Manchester United) and Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast and Tottenham) among many other players.
In every continental tournament across Africa, there are several scouts from the English Premier League looking for top talent to import to Europe. Academies across Europe are also constantly scouting for young talent across the continent, a good example being the Liberty Football Academy in Ghana which has strong connections with top EPL sides.
It should be remembered that Kanu Nwankwo, one of Africa’s best talents who played for Arsenal in the EPL was scouted by Ajax Amsterdam at an early age courtesy of the academy programmes in the continent. Worth mentioning also, the EPL remains the fans’ favourite league to bet with Betway.
The growth of African football owes a lot to the English Premier League in that money paid to facilitate player transfers finds its way into African soccer federations. Player contractual agreements include clauses for academies to benefit from the eventual sale of players, with part of the proceeds going to the academies, or to the clubs that developed the players. The structures put in place have helped clubs enhance different training programmes, including facilities, which have in turn helped improve the lifestyles of both the players and the communities from which these players come from.
The EPL is a lucrative league which pays top dollar to its top players. The likes of Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o have invested heavily in their home countries through their earnings, which is a massive step towards the development of their mother nations.