NFL draft: BYU's Ziggy Ansah hopes to promote the NFL in Africa
Former BYU and NFL tight end Chad Lewis has done extensive work promoting the NFL in China. Lewis served an LDS mission in Taiwan in the early 1990s.
"We've got a great fan base growing there in China. He's fantastic," Waller said of Lewis. "He's fluent in Mandarin. He has a huge passion for the game and for that country. That's important. You want players who feel responsibility for the game and for the country that they want us to grow in."
And what about the sport's popularity in Africa?
"It's probably not quantifiable. It's obviously small. But it's growing," Waller said. "The more media exposure we get, the more accessible we are on digital media, the more it's going to grow. Every time we have international players come into the game, it's a step forward. The more visibility and the higher the pick, the better that is. We have a great roster of international players this year."
That roster includes SMU's Margus Hunt (Estonia), Florida State's Bjoern Werner (Germany) and Alabama's Jesse Williams (Australia).
Is there a future for football in Ghana?
"It's been awhile since I've been back in Ghana, so I don't know," Ansah said. "But I've heard from a few of my friends that people there are starting to watch it. So I think it's growing out there."
No doubt, if Ansah is drafted high in the first round, expect that West African nation to have an increased interest in the NFL.
Or at least in a native son named Ziggy.
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