In the last two decades, several sports academies have sprouted across the continent aimed at supporting young Africans to learn and pursue a brighter future.
Governments and former sport heroes are investing in creating avenues for the young Africans to gain professional training and support.
It is due to these academies and sports centers that thousands of Africans have taken part in international competitions and gone ahead to emerge winners bringing glory and wealth to the continent.
West Africa dominates in continental football and tends to have several representations to these teams as well. As such, the number of football academies in the region is higher in West/South and North Africa compared to East Africa.
At the moment North Africa is admirably doing well. Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia have all qualified for Russia 2018. The Southern region had a moment in 2012 when Zambia won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). East Africa’s success can be traced back to 1978, when Uganda was runners up in the regional cup match.
Among the football academies empowering young people in Africa include Chigoli Football Academy, a nonprofit organization based in Lilongwe, Malawi. Founded in 2014 by George Maguire and Alex Scott the academy works primarily with talented young people between 8-10 years. The duo invites Malawian boys and girls with potential to their training center.
In Senegal, a partnership between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development), opened NBA Academy Africa in Thies. Though based in Senegal, the academy is a training center for the top male and female prospects from throughout Africa.
Mid 1990s marked a new era for East African runners. They have since dominated (for the two decades) with Kenyan winning in most of the races followed closely by Ethiopia, then Eretria and Uganda.
Many camps in this region work with upcoming athletes in the country and doors are always open to prospective or professional athletes wishing to train. Most of the camps are located in high altitude areas such as the rift valley area in Kenya.
Owned by the former world half-marathon record holder Lornah Kiplagat, High Altitude Training Camp (HATC), is a training camp for local and international runners.
With such facilities offering support and training, young Africans are able to make better and informed choices of their career paths depending on their skills, or talents.