Since the passage of the Continental Free Trade Agreement, the promise of intra-Africa trade has unleashed major opportunities for growth, and the made in Africa's sports merchandise industry is no exception. Nigerian entrepreneur and ex NBA agent is betting big on passion developing a Pan African sports apparel brand. Merchandise and apparel company, AFA Sports was born of a global mindset to capitalize on the profitable athleisure and sports market. According to Ugo; “We came into a space where there was really no ecosystem at all to support the kind of industry we are trying to push”. According to market research firm Data Bridge, the global sports apparel sector will be worth almost $280,000,000,000 by 2030. AFA Sports is the brainchild of former agent Ugo Udezue, who returned to Nigeria in 2015 after living 20 years in the United States. “AFA Sports means Africa for Africa. We had this basketball league called Continental Basketball League, and I also tried to get sponsorships for the games, all the foreign brands were not interested in the local content. So, I thought about it and I said, okay, we have to do something different. So that form the concept of AFA Sports. Everything we do is designed for our market”. Co-founding the company with former Nigerian basketball player Ahmadu Musa Kida, Ugo says AFA's adventure into manufacturing locally in late 2019 was a decision that paid off when the pandemic struck months later. Before, we used to import all our products from China, so I went in front of my board and said, I think we should go into manufacturing. They took a risk chance at it. Six months later, Covid hits and we were the only people manufacturing and bringing in sports products in Nigeria. So that's how AFA became very popular. The company outfits of the Nigerian team at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, an achievement Ugo says was in honor of a lifetime. We are so proud to be the first African brand in the Olympics ever. You know, we are so proud to have all our products in the Olympics. Seeing it see my Nigerian athletes wearing it was a very shiny moment for me personally and for our brand. AFA Sports is hoping to tap further into the athleisure market, estimated to hit more than $20 billion in Africa and the Middle East by 2029. We have a booming middle class coming up, and obviously, it's a massive domestic market that we have, right? So, when you look at the sports industry, we definitely need to pour in additional investment. We are 100% sourcing our fabrics from vendors in Nigeria, all over Nigeria. We're looking to people in Kano to design bags. We're looking to people in Abeokuta to design some certain fabrics. So, we make sure our main focus is here. Ugo says they plan to strengthen Afrileisure position in Nigeria while eyeing Continental expansion. One way they hope to achieve this is through one of their brand ambassadors, Nigerian musician Paul Okoye. I discovered AFA Sports from a friend of mine. He noticed that I love working out, he burst us for me I was just looking at it. I said, really? I said, this is Nigeria product? He says yes. Now we are working on something, but now I want to do the AFA’s kit for kids, and that's what we're looking up to in 2023. And that support is welcomed. As the brand says, it currently ships to over 20 countries around the world looks to gain even more ground locally. We are very confident that even alone in this market, we have enough resources to produce a market where we want to go. We're also working on making building our own shoe factory in the near future so we can tap into the local rubber opportunities here in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa to make our own shoes. There's really no need for us to be bringing in anything from other countries when we have all the resources we need here. Experts agree that full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area is important to create, nurture, and grow the sports industry in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Kenya is actually one of our biggest opportunities, but every time we ship products there, they have to pay duties that sometimes even more than the products they are buying. So, if this opens up, you're talking about billions of people as an opportunity. These are Afrileisure dress… With the growing production footprint and a distribution partnership across Nigeria, AFA Sports says they hope to build a legacy that will impact generations in and outside of Africa. We are trying to put together an infrastructure that is symbiotic to the environment, that is pushing local sports, that is pushing grassroots sports, that is pushing professional sports across Africa, and also making a lot of money doing that. You know, in the next three, four years, I see us as the Nike of Africa. Africa is the next frontier.
AFA Sports is a leading pan-African sports merchandise company recognized for promoting the core essence of Africa through classic products. The biggest athleisure and Afrileisure brand in Africa is re-writing the African story with one product at a time.