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African Football Clubs could Force a Paradigm Shift in the Sport’s Power Dynamics

Shola Akinlade, who sold Paystack to Stripe for $200 million in 2020, is one of a handful of Nigerian-born entrepreneurs who have set their sights on getting a foothold in the ownership stakes of European football. Remo Stars, another club with roots in Lagos, is owned by a sports gambling and airline businessman Kunle Soname who bought Portuguese club C.D. Feirense in 2015. The second tier side has been involved in deals that take Nigerian talent to the European stage including Peter Etebo, for whom English club Stoke City paid $8 million in 2018. Africa’s wealthiest man, cement magnate Aliko Dangote, has been the most high profile example of Nigerian business leaders trying to buy access to the European football market. He has repeatedly stated his interest in buying Arsenal, the London-based English Premier League club. For now though, the billionaire’s interest appears to be in France, where he is reportedly in talks to take over second tier side Valenciennes, in the north of the country.