Ziggy Ansah hopes to see (or play in) an NFL game in Africa

Getty Images

NFL games are regularly played in London and occasionally played in Mexico City, and as the league looks to continue its international expansion there’s talk of future games everywhere from Germany to China. But there’s never been an NFL game in Africa.

Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah wants to change that. Ansah, who grew up in Ghana, says the league should consider playing a game somewhere in Africa in the coming years.

I would love to see a game in Africa,” Ansah told the Lions’ website. “That would be good, and I think there’s a lot of potential back in Africa. I know that one day the NFL will have a game out there just like we do in London.”

Ansah says there are more young people playing American football in Africa than many Americans realize. In addition to Ansah, African-born NFL players have included Liberia’s Tamba Hali, Zaire’s Tim Biakabatuka, Sierra Leone’s Madieu Williams, Côte d’Ivoire’s Amos Zereoué, South Africa’s Gary Anderson and Nigeria’s Christian Okoye.

“I think now that there’s a lot of Africans playing this game, I know the young guys coming up have been picking up on the game,” Ansah said. “When I went there I met a few guys that are eager to learn the game. It’s evolving in Africa.”

It may some day evolve to the point where the NFL plays a game there. Perhaps soon enough that Ansah can be part of it.

40 responses to “Ziggy Ansah hopes to see (or play in) an NFL game in Africa

  1. There’s zero interest in football over there, no way that’s gonna happen the next 10-20 years. Europe is first, then you still have Australia, Canada, China, Brazil maybe, and so on.

  2. thisonesforpat says:
    May 9, 2016 2:25 PM
    Sure. Have the Lions play the Bengals in Kenya.

    *********************

    There are no tigers in Africa.

  3. Ummm, have you checked Brazil lately? I agree Australia seems to be the next logical target, but I could see a game in Africa before Brazil or China.

  4. I don’t have a problem with worldwide NFL expansion leagues, but making North American teams play outside of North America kind of stinks.

    And I totally believe Ziggy when he says the NFL has traction in Africa. Generally speaking, Americans are welcomed with open arms on most of that continent — even the places we’re told “hate” us.

  5. Better drop Mike Kensil into the middle of the Congo and have find him find a suitable spot to play a game.

  6. They’re not thinking big enough for expansion

    Bang! Zoom! Straight to the moon!

  7. Um, I’m not sure how talking about taking millions from the local Detriot economy is going to make you a fan favorite, but the owners will certainly give you a participation trophy for supporting moving as many games as possible outside the U.S.

  8. Where would it be economically viable? Johannesburg? Cairo? Cassablanca? Lagos? I don’t even know. I doubt we’ll see it anytime soon.

  9. OK, so one person in 7 odd BILLION people want this to happen! It probably will not happen!
    UNLESS Roger can figure out a way for it to make money! Then I’ll bet the house that there is a game in Africa!

  10. NSS in Zimbabwe stadium could hold it… many others like Kinshasa, Nigeria, Kenya.

    I’d like to see it in places OTHER than Johannesburg. Still a bad taste in my mouth.

    Would be very cool!

  11. Wasn’t it bad enuff that we had to hear over and over how Jerome Bettis was originally from Detroit during the SuperBowl…?

  12. All the equipment for football is pretty expensive. Soccer is king worldwide, because all you need is a ball and cleats. Given the economic status of most African countries, I don’t see American football succeeding there. They could start people on flag football (no pads/helmets).

  13. All the equipment for football is pretty expensive. Soccer is king worldwide, because all you need is a ball and cleats. Given the economic status of most African countries, I don’t see American football succeeding there. They could start people on flag football (no pads/helmets).

    —-

    Yes, while there is large percentage of African nations that can’t afford the equipment, there are countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania (maybe Liberia), and South Africa who have the infrastructure to support it.

  14. This will probably never happen and it has nothing to do with interest and EVERYTHING to do with $$.

    Especially when the NFL charges $300+ for these novelty locations (eg. Toronto)

    It’s sad. If the league was just a little less greedy, they’d achieve the globalization they earnestly seek. Will never happen though.

  15. While it might not make sense financially, it does when realizing that African players have been the most successful of all foreign born players in the NFL. I think the fact that the most successful players outside the U.S. are from Africa should carry some weight. It’s probably what Ansah also sees.

  16. yes, let’s have the Patriots play the Broncos in Zimbabwe or Sierra Leone, or the Lions and Bengals play in Dubai;

  17. racistchecker says:
    May 9, 2016 5:52 PM

    While it might not make sense financially, it does when realizing that African players have been the most successful of all foreign born players in the NFL. I think the fact that the most successful players outside the U.S. are from Africa should carry some weight. It’s probably what Ansah also sees.
    ———————–

    It makes absolutely no sense, financially or otherwise, to send two current NFL teams to Africa to play football, no matter how many players have come from there.

    If they want to spread American football around the globe, send a couple of exhibition teams made up of all of the busts, castoffs, drunks, junkies, and other Ne-er-do-wells from around the league.

    Manziel can captain one team, and Hardy can captain the other.

  18. If the NFL, meaning the 32 team owners, be they single people or corporations, want to expand interest around the world, they need to pony up the money to do so by creating exhibition teams; two, four or six teams specifically created to play in other countries: London, Mexico City, Tokyo and Beijing and any other hair brained venue idea the commissioner comes up with.

    I’m not suggesting leagues, which have been tried and failed in the past, but a set of teams, owned, operated and payed for by the NFL.

    Leave our “city” and “state” teams to play in their own venues on a regular schedule with reasonable travel times in spite of increased Monday and Thursday games.

    Quit trying to short US teams and fans with arduous travel times and time zone impractical viewing times.

    If the NFL owners wants world exposure, pay for it out or your own pockets with new exhibition teams and leave our US teams alone.

  19. If the NFL were to actually do this, the most likely spot for a game is South Africa. They have the best infrastructure and stadiums of any country in Africa.

    Too many of the other countries have political and social issues that would make an NFL game too hard to pull off.

  20. If there’s significant money to be made, it will happen. Nothing, and I mean nothing gets in the way of the owners making an extra dollar!

    Jacksonville Jags have already volunteered to be the home team!

  21. Why all this interest in playing in other cities?

    Do you know why they don’t play professional football in Fargo, ND? Because then Minneapolis would want a pro football game also.

  22. If Roger and the owners could figure out a way to make a couple of bucks, consider it done.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!