UCFB has partnered with leading pan-African youth football organisation, Africa 10, to deliver cutting-edge online sports degrees across the African continent in order to develop the football industry locally and upskill the workforce from grassroots to national governing bodies.

Africa 10 and UCFB’s long-term ambition is to see an African nation win the World Cup, and both organisations recognise the integral role that education must play in the development of the infrastructure to enable them to do so.

The UCFB & Africa 10 scholarship will see African students join UCFB as part of an initiative to foster excellence, innovation and leadership with the mission to create an A10 generation of champions in sport who then develop the industry in their home country.

The scholars will have the opportunity to study UCFB’s esteemed MSc International Sport Management programme, usually taught on campus, in a full, online delivery format.

Sharona Friedman, Chief Marketing Officer at UCFB, said: “We are truly excited to be delivering this unique opportunity to scholars and we look forward to working with Africa 10 to develop the next generation of champions and role models.”

“UCFB is dedicated to equality and diversity across the sports industry at all levels, and we believe that this collaboration and the collective power of 10 will help to create generations of champions across Africa and beyond.”

The goal of A10 is to identify, inspire, educate and mentor the next generation of sporting talent and global leaders.

Kojo Annan, Founder of Africa 10, previously African partner to ISL and former President of Vevey Sports, said: “Africa 10 is based on the love we all have for the beautiful game that unites everybody regardless of race, colour, tribe, creed. Sport can play a transformative role in Africa – a continent where, due to material inequality, there’s a lot of underprivileged people who love the beautiful game the same way anyone else does anywhere in the world.”

“Sport creates inspiration, and if we create more champions and stars on the continent, that will create more inspiration for the youth to enable them to believe they can be champions as well in any walk of life.”

Annan explained: “The name Africa 10 comes from the concept of excellence and unity. 10 represents excellence in football and in life; ten out of ten, the number 10. The message of unity is that no matter how great Messi or Ronaldo or is, they can’t do it without the other 10 in the team. It’s the power of 10.”

Africa 10 has chosen UCFB as its partner for this initiative as the innovative institution is placed at the heart of the sports education industry globally, with the specific knowledge in sports administration to achieve its ambitious objectives.

The MSc International Sport Management programme has been developed for those with aspirations towards senior management positions within the core functional departments of football and sport.

Young sports professionals in Africa often struggle to come to the UK so the scholarship was developed online to allow them to study from their home nation, with a visit to Wembley at the end of their studies.

The pioneering online degree will take the Africa 10 scholars on a transformational journey suited for graduates of all disciplines, as well as for current professionals working within various sectors of the football and sports industry, for example in management, marketing or operations.

Highlighting the importance of the partnership with UCFB, Annan said: “We’re at a competitive disadvantage in Africa. We don’t have great coaches; we don’t have great sports business professionals – all the great courses that UCFB offer. Football is a business, it’s an ecosystem. All the work that goes into creating the Premier League or the other powerful global tournaments. When you see Germany or France, they’ve gone through years of investment in grassroots football. You can’t win if you don’t have top level coaches coaching the kids.”

With 10 students already signed up to the MSc online degree at UCFB as part of the Africa 10 scholarship, Annan explained: “Using our methodology of the power of 10, we want them to be the first 10 and next time we want to bring in 100 from across the continent. We want them to be role models of what can be done when you invest in the education of young kids, they can come back and have an impact on the continent. If you train a coach, a coach can train 100 or 1000 over a period 10 years for example. It’s an exponential impact.”

“Wembley is the home of football. The EPL is by far the biggest league in the world, and in Africa it’s the most watched thing on the continent. Every kid from Nairobi to Lagos, from Monrovia to Accra, from Cairo to Cape Town, is watching the Premier League. So for them to come to the home of football is a big deal, and we want to inspire them so they can go back and inspire the next set that are coming.”

The organisation enjoys the support of some of the biggest names in African football with George Weah, Jay Jay Okocha, Abedi Pele, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and Nwanku Kanu among the Africa 10 Legends group.

“We felt the best way to define that excellence would be to start with the best African payers of all time and that’s how we got those five ambassadors,” Annan explained.