A Collegiate Sports League for all disciplines across Africa has been established ©FISU

Africa Sports Ventures Group (ASVG) and the Federation of Africa University Sports (FASU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Collegiate Sports League for all disciplines across the continent.

The signing also included a student-athlete sports scholarship fund programme for African universities that mirrors what the United States has with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

With the agreement, FASU is continuing its work to bring more university sport competitions and championships throughout Africa.

Leslie Koroma, founder of ASVG, states that the key purpose for the formation of the university sports league system is to provide the necessary link from the youth ranks to the professional level for African athletes.

"The Africa Collegiate League was formed to bridge the gap in the development continuum of athletes in Africa by bridging the gap between youth sports and the professional level," he said.

"This gives more opportunities to student-athletes across the African continent - and a greater chance at an advanced education for those pursuing their passion in sports."

Koroma added: "The Africa Collegiate League is a support structure for the Africa sports scholarship fund, which was born out of the necessity to incentivise and heighten student-athlete participation in sports in universities across Africa and provide opportunities for young sportsmen and women coming up from the school system."

The Collegiate Sports League will commence with football and basketball ©FISU
The Collegiate Sports League will commence with football and basketball ©FISU

Due to begin in October 2020 with an initial instalment of 32 universities, the Collegiate Sports League will commence with football and basketball.

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) claims the development has sparked interest from student-athletes across the continents. 

"We sample the opinion of university athletes on their thoughts on such a venture and how important and relevant meets like this can be for their career," Koroma said. 

Joy-Udo Gabriel, the women's 100 metres bronze medallist at the 2018 African Athletics Championships, expressed her excitement.

"I believe the initiative is a very nice one considering we usually don’t get such [a thing] in Africa, so it's going to be a very big opportunity for some of us to show what we have while also going to school," said the student-athlete education major from the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

"I believe this idea is a really good one for us student-athletes in Africa."

FASU general secretary Penninah Kabenge noted that the Collegiate Sports League does not replace or displace the functions of the continental governing body in organising its own championships, but is a welcome development with the stated mission to establish more opportunities for student-athletes to excel.

"We are committed to work with Africa Sports Ventures Group as we continue to build university sports in Africa," Kabenge, who also serves as a FISU vice-president, said.

FASU has also announced that the 2020 All-Africa University Games will be held at Kenyatta University in Kenya's capital Nairobi from August 17 to 21.