Daniel Osemudiame Eromosele’s assertion that countries like the USA are trying to be the face of eSports in the world is certainly not a baseless or speculative assertion. In fact, it is backed by the fact that the USA is now seeking to implement a strong and efficient academy policy to empower eSports in the country.
When an article on the website of CNN Business carried the headline, “Video games are now a legitimate high school sport” in relation to the USA, it was certainly not surprising. This is especially because the country since the fall of 2018 has been putting in so much effort to make sure that kids are groomed to become good eSports players and consequently help the country become the face of eSports globally.
CNN Business reports that States such as Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas charter schools are now collaborating with the National Federation of State High School Association to promote eSports in various High Schools. These children have competitions to compete in giving them an essential platform to develop their gaming skills at a very young age.
The policy being adopted by the USA is not a speculative one. It certainly brings to mind what the German Football Association in collaboration with German clubs did to redeem their image after a disastrous Euro 2000 campaign when they were painfully eliminated in the group stages.
After the disastrous Euro 2000 campaign, the German Football Association and German clubs identified the setting up of academies to train young ones as one of the key solutions to their predicament. They started implementing the academy policy by setting up many academies across the country and also by launching the Extended Talent Promotion in 2002 to scout for young players for the country.
The results are clear for all to see as the German football has reaped more than it sowed. Their winning of the World Cup was due to the genius of Mario Götze who used a skill he learnt from one of the academies to net the winner which provided the Germans with the most coveted trophy of world football.
Thesefootballtimes paints a perfect picture of the technique that the former Dortmund academy graduate used in producing the magical moment: “The way in which the Dortmund academy graduate collected the ball on his chest before firing past a despairing Sergio Romero in the Argentine goal to award Die Mannschaft their fourth World Cup victory was a great testament to the fine piece of machinery as he adjusted his frame before rocking with the drop of the ball and picking out the far corner, a technique that the Bavarian practised daily in the “football cage” when in Westphalia.”.
That same policy saw two German clubs, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, qualify for the finals of the 2013 Champions league. The Guardian reports that about 26 players who were registered in the Champions League squad of both teams for that particular season were homegrown players and were eligible to play for German national teams.
Although the policy might have hit a snag at the 2018 World cup, the English have also adopted the policy after being impressed with it. They are now a dominant force in youth football having won three youth tournaments in 2017 and currently boast of a youthful team that on any other day can compete with the top footballing national teams in the world.
For the USA, the academy policy that has been of much benefit to German Football and other European countries is a perfect avenue to help them take over eSports for years to come. What then can the African continent learn from USA’s grand eSports plan?
Lessons for the African continent
1. eSports is worth investing in
eSports is proving daily that it is a field worth investing in. We have already discussed the benefits that eSports brings to a country especially with the financial heights that it is expected to hit in a few years to come. Certainly, the academy policy the USA are seeking to implement brings to bear a more solid reason to back the campaigning for government and other institutions to support eSports.
The States mentioned above are not ignorant of the fact that those High School kids are to be trained as future American astrologers, lawyers, politicians, doctors, philosophers, nurses etcetera but they have realized the need to help them identify a great career option in life. And they are obviously willing to invest in it.
It will, therefore, do countries in the African continent so much good if they were to invest in eSports bearing in mind the enormous benefits that it comes along with. Those eight States certainly know what they are investing in and it is just a matter of time before they reap the benefits.
2. Developing the kids is an efficient way
The point has already been established that developing the youth is a very important way of ensuring success and continuity in any field or organisation. The USA has undoubtedly taken the right path by turning to the academy policy, that has blessed German football with great talents, to help them take over eSports.
If the African continent really wants to be a competitor in eSports, then it certainly needs to implement the academy policy. It is a steady process but it is one that guarantees success for a long period of time.
3. Creating a huge gap
The fact cannot be denied that countries like the USA, China and Germany are miles ahead of us in terms of international exposure in the eSports industry and with the USA seeking to implement the academy policy they could further widen the gap and make it very difficult for the African continent to catch up when it finally decides to compete with the powerhouses.
Unless we want to be known as a mediocre eSports continent, there is the need for us to step up our game and, as soon as possible, put measures in place to catch up with the USA and other prominent eSports countries before it is just too late.
Jörg Daniel who was the director of the Extended talent promotion in 2002 indicated that: “If the talent of the century happens to be born in a tiny village behind the mountains, from now on we will find him”. The USA has adopted a similar mentality, and it looks like they could be on their to becoming the greatest eSports country in the world very soon.