The Premier league has up to 40 international stars who originate from Africa, making them one of the smallest minorities in the top English tier.
The question has to be asked, would Premier League clubs benefit from starting football academies out in Africa? The answer is most certainly yes. It would be naive to cut off hot prospects of African football, a continent which have portrayed their love for the game for so many years.
Players in the past have shown they have what it takes to showcase their talents on the biggest football platform in the world. The likes of Tony Yeboah, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha, and more recently Didier Drogba have graced the Premier League to great effect.
It is essential that the Premier League continually acknowledge the wide spread football potential in Africa, not only does it compliment the works of the western world in the long run, but it implements a new platform and new opportunities for the youth in deprived areas.
The world is still yet to witness a ‘World FIFA’ player of the year since the legendary George Weah. That’s not due to the lack of talent in Africa (because there is talent) but it’s simply because there is not enough exposure of the African market within the Premier League.
Nonetheless, the likes of Liverpool’s Craig Bellamy and Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand have set up foundations in Africa which have created a platform for young footballers to follow their dreams on that long road to success. It will only be a matter of time before player power will prevail and mount a positive influence on their respective clubs.
There is no harm in investing in African talent in my opinion; the only flaw will probably be wage demands as we saw with John Obi Mikel for Chelsea, but you have to expect that from any player in this day and age.
However, one must look at the benefits in the long run, constant nurturing, plying his trade gradually to become the complete player without spending lucratively.
The only way is forward for both parties to be honest, if the Premier League open up a new doors to fresh talent then the young players within the continent have a chance to show what they are made of.