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A Candid Conversation with NFL star Amobi Okoye


By Leslie Koroma


The African sports landscape has some unique issues and serious problems that are sometimes baffling to understand. Many sports disciplines are in a state of limbo or have outrightly just stagnated. In many in- stances leadership is what is needed to steer the ship in the right direction.


Football (known as Soccer in North America) is king in Africa and pretty much every kid growing up in Africa has dreams of becoming a global star. But there are many other sports disciplines with great potentials of giving one a life far removed from the poverty that most Africans experience growing up. However with- out exposure to such sport disciplines kids across Af- rica may never know the joy of playing such sports and for certain will never realize the potential of what playing such a sport will do to transform their lives from one of abject poverty to that full of opportunities and possibilities. In the United States of America the game called Foot- ball which Africans know as American Football other- wise known alternatively by true football insiders as Gridiron, is a game that is drastically different from Soccer (the World’s most popular sport). It is far more physical and considered by many to be outright gruel- ing but most American kids grow up dreaming of Foot-


ball Stardom and transforming their lives and the lives of their families through opportunities and rich salaries. African immigrant families in the USA exposed to this sport when their kids choose to play it at school have gravitated well towards it. Most of the African immigrant families barely understand the rules of the game but with visions of their kids becoming stars one day they give their kids their unflinching support just as most American families would and some even go to the extent of attend- ing practice and school games religiously, a concept that is alien in Africa. The NFL today is full of players with African names a testament of the adoption of the game by immigrant families. One of such athletes is Amobi Okoye an immigrant kid who came to the USA with his family at a very young age and quickly adapted to life in the USA, where he picked up the game of Football at school.


The game came naturally to him as if by second nature and he has thrived in it just as if he had al- ways played it. He adapted and picked up on the nuances of the game quickly. He adapted so well that he earned a football scholarship to the University of Louisville where he not only played football but got his college education graduating at the very young age of 19 with a Bachelors Degree. His graduation will then coincide with being drafted into the NFL where he got picked by the Houston


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