FA licensed agent, Dr Drew Uyi, has stressed the need for African athletes and sports practitioners to embrace sports branding, saying it’s a gateway to competing at the top level and planning for life after retirement.
Uyi advised African athletes to engage brand experts with a knowledge of their backgrounds, countries, cultures, inclinations and conditions, saying it would help them gain the relevant mileage, as well as increase their finances.
“Local knowledge of the environment is key, that is why it is ridiculous for African athletes to engage European brands consultants, who do not understand the idiosyncrasies of our continent,” the UK-based sports branding strategist said.
“What is permitted in England may not be allowed in Nigeria. So, how do you expect a European to know the beliefs of, say the Yoruba people, when trying to do a sports branding project for a Nigerian player?
“It is most imperative for our athletes to know that the best time to start branding themselves is now that they are actively for their clubs and countries. Now, they are in the public domain, wowing the world with their fantastic performances, so it is only apt that they start the connection between playing and branding so that as their game is rising, their brand visibility and exposure is also on the ascendancy.”
Uyi mentioned the likes of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazilian Neymar and Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo as some footballers with a huge sports branding team, who control their branding activities to create a profitable synergy for the players during their active days and after retirement.