Sport management curricula in Africa: issues and challenges

Anneliese Goslin


Global sport management is diverse. Sport managers come from different parts of the world, function in different governance paradigms, represent different institutions and speak different languages. What binds them together is their involvement in the management of an industry that significantly impacts modern society. According to the Kearney Report on the Sport Industry (Kearney, 2015), the sport industry is a far-reaching business that goes beyond the field of play. The sport industry spans from food concessions at a stadium to media rights and sponsorships. The 2015 Kearney Report claims that 450 billion Euro (USD620 billion) is spent annually in the sport industry. Within this multidimensional business environment, many role players are active, including, for example, event, stadium and team owners, sport agencies, sponsors, media and ordinary citizens watching sport, participating in sport and buying sport merchandise.

Kearney (2015) claims that the global sport industry is growing much faster than national gross domestic product (GDP) in fast-growing economies, such as the BRICS nations, as well as in more mature markets, such as Europe and North America. In addition, it is speculated that the global sports value chain, through its size, make-up and revenues, shows significant growth prospects for the future. Researchers (Forbes, 2015; Kearney, 2015; Porter, 2011) postulate that sport creates value. Sport federations and sports rights owners (e.g., clubs, agencies, events, stadiums and leagues) are responsible for generating revenues from matches, media, merchandise and marketing down to social events and community sports. In order to generate sustainable revenue, the sport industry needs to be managed effectively. The quality and education of human capital, for example, sport managers in the sport industry, therefore, constitute a critical determinant of success in the sports value chain. In today’s complex and multidimensional sport scape, sport managers must be able to lead and manage sport from grassroots sport initiatives to U.S. multibillion-dollar sport businesses to generate revenue and create value. It follows, logically, that in order to achieve this, sport managers must be educated and trained appropriately and effectively.

Although “sport management” is referred to as a generic entity, often implying that it is a qualification that fits all sizes and contexts, nothing could be further from reality. The field of sport management represents an intersection of multiple scientific fields and cultural contexts as well as entrance angles. No single sport management curriculum could claim superiority as institutions offering sport management curricula enter the field of sport management curricula design through different entrances, angles and perspectives that leave it open to multiple perceptions and interpretations. This contextual reality understandably presents issues and challenges to developers and accreditors of sport management curricula at institutions of higher education throughout the world.

Sport in Africa contributes to the monetary value of the global sport industry, albeit not on the same scale as Europe, Asia, Australia or North America. Sport managers are required to manage and increase the potential monetary value in fitting ways. Sport management curricula are offered throughout the continent of Africa. A preliminary review of institutions of African higher education indicates that qualifications in sport management are available to prospective sport managers. The Association of African Universities (AAU) (Association of African Universities, 2017) divides the continent of Africa into the following regions: Northern Africa, Western Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Indian Ocean Islands and Southern Africa. Public and private universities in many of these African regions offer qualifications in sport management. The geographical supply of sport management education opportunities suggests that Africa does contribute to the global pool of knowledge production in sport management. The offered sport management qualifications range from dedicated undergraduate baccalaureate degree programmes, physical education degree programmes with elements of sport management embedded in the curriculum, national diplomas, higher certificates and graduate diplomas and certificates.

Issues and challenges in sport management curricula

Even though the term “sport” seems to be one of the most recognised words in many languages, the ways in which the business of sport and its management manifests itself in different countries differ tremendously. In South Africa, for example, sport managers are tasked to manage sport in contexts ranging from high-tech, world-class sport stadiums, professional sport teams, multimillion sponsorships and brands and professional sport franchises and leagues to managing school sport teams, informal sport facilities and sport development initiatives. This clearly presents issues and challenges to developers of sport management curricula. Two fundamental principles of curriculum development require any curriculum to prepare graduates for real-life situations as well as to link curriculum content with socio-educational realities of a field of knowledge (sport management) in a society. It should, therefore, be evident that sport management curricula in Africa need to be contextualised to suit specific needs and demands of the continent.

Technically, “issues and challenges” in sport management curricula are two separate concepts. An issue refers to a specific topic or reality at hand. A challenge, on the other hand, implies facing and dealing with an issue and its resolution. For purposes of this overview, however, academic freedom was applied, and the two concepts are merged into one. In order to explore the topic in a structured way, issues and challenges are analysed and discussed first followed by a brief reflection on opportunities related to sport management curricula in Africa. Issues and challenges facing sport management curricula in Africa are multidimensional and interrelated. As sport mirrors society and, therefore, influences its management, there are no simple one-fix solutions. An exploration of issues and challenges suggests that it is discernible upon macro, meso, micro and nano levels.

On a macro level, sport management is confronted with socio-economic and political issues, challenges and developments on a global level. African societies and sport management curricula are impacted by these global realities. Sport management curricula are embedded in the sport industry of specific countries, and issues and challenges on a meso level are directly related to the size, scope and relevance of the sport industry in an African region or country. On a micro level, the strategic vision, direction and practices of particular individual institutions of higher education in Africa present issues and challenges. On a nano level, issues and challenges are linked to prospective sport managers’ career choices and personal development goals and choices. Flushing out issues and challenges on the aforementioned levels resulted in an initial framework of issues and challenges depicted in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 Issues and Challenges for Sport Management Curricula in Africa


Issues and Challenges for Sport Management Curricula in Africa


(Global and continental realities)

Socio-economic and political realities of Africa.


(Sport industry in Africa)

  • • Size, status and image of sport management as an element of the sport industry.
  • • Government sport policies.
  • • Sustainable career opportunities in sport management.
  • • Migration of African athletes.


(Institutions of higher education realities)

  • • The drive to transform African universities.
  • • Internationalisation, standardisation, accreditation, modes of teaching and learning and quality control of sport management curricula.
  • • Influence and legacy of physical education curricula
  • • Capacity building in sport management.
  • • Funding of sport management academic programmes.
  • • Continental academic networks in sport management.
  • • Terminology and job description confusion.


(Personal perceptions and choices)

  • • Individual career choices.
  • • Individual perceptions of students on the significance of sport management.
  • • Personal development goals and aspirations.
  • • Lack of role models.

While a framework with different levels is proposed, the intricacy of issues and challenges in sport management curricula does not play out in neat boxes and levels. Issues and challenges are interrelated and connected. Collectively more challenges and issues can surely be identified and debated and could probably lead to research projects at the graduate level. The focus, however, in this overview will be on elaborating on and contextualising the aforementioned issues and challenges.

Macro level

According to curriculum development theory, all curricula, including sport management curricula, must be contextualised reflecting the basic principles of preparing graduates for real-life situations, as well as link curriculum content with socio-educational realities of a field of knowledge (sport management) in a society. That is exactly why one of the reasons governments fund higher education is to improve a country’s economy. Curricula in all fields of knowledge should, therefore, concern themselves and reflect the requirements of the socio-economic and political realities of a country.

Graduates from a sport management programme ultimately need to be employed. Market forces determine the need for qualified sport managers in a country and indirectly dictate the content of sport management curricula. At the same time, market forces also determine the number of graduates in sport management who can be supported by a sport industry' in a country. In the same vein, social diversity including religion, culture and social groupings affects curriculum development because these characteristics influence knowledge standards, teaching and assessment modes. It is, therefore, stated that developing relevant curriculum content and standards are embedded in a society’s expectations, group traditions and value systems.

Africa is the second largest (6% of the earth’s total surface area) and second most populated continent, comprising 16% of the global population. Yet, despite its size and population, Africa’s per capita GDP is extremely low, making it also the poorest continent. Africa’s socio-economic realities bring other factors into the process of curriculum development and design. Responsible and valid sport curriculum development requires awareness of the diversity of a target community socially, financially and psychologically. Sport management curricula standards developed and accredited for contexts elsewhere in the world cannot merely be superimposed on Africa. The issue of globalisation, internationalisation or standardisation of sport management curricula should, therefore, be approached with great care and inclusivity.

Meso level

Size, status and image of sport management as a significant element of the sport industry

The impact of Africa’s socio-economic reality, in turn, influences the image and demand for sport management. Africa lags behind when compared to the size and status of sport management in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Although a number of African institutions of higher education offer sport management programmes, it is nowhere close to the available offerings in other parts of the world. The driving force to increase the size, status and image of sport and sport management is sustainable growth and contribution to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). An increase in GDP in turn creates increases in individuals’ disposable income that could be available for sport. A country’s sport industry could also grow utilising the economic and social potential of sport for development. Growth in a country’s sport industry creates a need for sport organisations to be run along the business principles of growth and survival. Sequentially, a demand for sport managers who combine knowledge and passion for sport with the necessary sport management skills and competencies to strive towards success both on the playing fields and in boardrooms is generated. In Africa, expenditure on sport, nevertheless, competes with substantial social issues like healthcare and employment. It is not a case that Africa does not practise sport or produce world-class athletes, but the demand for dedicated sport managers is substantially lower than that in other parts of the world.

Government sport policies and regulatory frameworks

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the African Union Sport Council emphasise the social and economic role of sport on the continent. Many African government sport policies promote sport as a nation builder and reflect a nation’s sport strategies and ambitions. At the same time, it stipulates priority areas that need to be collectively executed on lower levels of service delivery. Sport policies must have internal coherence implying that strategies and priorities must make sense in a specific context. It seems as if traditional ways of thinking about and delivering sport policies, as well as limited government budgets for sport, nonetheless, often obscure the value of qualified sport managers in the supply chain of sport delivery. Sport scientists often perceive the role of sport management and sport managers as subordinate to sport performance on the field, potential Olympic glory or winning a world championship, subsequently influencing the role of and demand for qualified sport managers.

Sustainable career opportunities in sport management

Issues and challenges discussed earlier result in a smaller pool of sustainable career opportunities in sport management in Africa. Professional sport leagues, franchises and teams are simply not as developed in Africa as in the rest of the world. Athletes in Africa are often absorbed into professional sport outside the continent. This migration is referred to by some as “muscle drain”. Although this so-called muscle drain provides talented athletes with better performance opportunities, it does harm the business of sport in Africa. If there is not a well- established business of sport sector on the continent the need for sport managers subsequently decreases and institutions of higher learning become less motivated to offer sport management qualifications.

Migration of African athletes

The migration of student-athletes as well as professional athletes to Europe, Asia and North America is a reality that obviously benefits individual athletes but impacts negatively on the sport industries of respective African countries. A dynamic and healthy national sport industry stimulates a demand for sport managers. African universities can simply not compete with lucrative full-ride scholarships offered by universities in North America or Asia to elite athletes and students interested in sport management. The migration of student-athletes often affects the quality of local sport competitions as well as the need for qualified sport coaches and sport managers. This becomes a vicious cycle of supply and demand in a country’s sport industry. The same tendency is notable in the migration of professional athletes.

Micro level

Transforming African universities

Although issues and challenges on different levels are related, the most significant impact on sport management curricula is located on the micro level. It is on the micro level where hard-core decisions are made regarding sport management curricula. Post modernism has opened a space for an ongoing discourse in African higher education on Africanisation of higher education and subsequently the Africanisation of curricula. Much has been written about the issue of Africanisation of higher education and varied viewpoints on what Africanisation entails are offered. In general, Africanisation is often described as a renewed focus on Africa and entails salvaging what has been stripped from the continent. More specifically, Africanisation is interpreted as an Africanised educational system that maintains African awareness of the social order and rules and generates and redefines educational standards and knowledge structures which are relevant, effective and empowering. For some academics in higher education, the concept of Africanisation and curricula creates confusion, anxiety and irritation. Such confusion often stems from a lack of clarity and detail on the definition and implications of Africanisation. It is, therefore, necessary to clearly state that Africanisation of higher education does not mean substandard education, corruption or even a total lack of education or poor scholarship.

Africanisation applied to higher education must be interpreted as a call to adapt curricula and syllabi to ensure that teaching and learning are adapted to African realities and conditions and not merely represent a clone of Western curricula in sport management. It also means a sound belief in ethical decisionmaking as programmes, projects and initiatives are furthered. The discourse on

African higher education by scholars that has appeared in the last decade argues and highlights the inappropriateness and sometimes irrelevance of current curricula in certain fields of knowledge that were introduced during the colonial era. To address this issue requires a distinct drive to adapt subject matter and teaching methods geared to the physical, economic and cultural realities of sport management in Africa. The challenges for curriculum developers of sport management curricula in Africa’s higher education encompass the following kinds of changes and adaptations:

  • 1 Transforming and adapting the curricula to be consistent with the lived experiences of most African students for whom the sport management curriculum is designed.
  • 2 Changing and adapting exit-level outcomes and graduate attributes.
  • 3 Changing and adapting teaching and learning methods, policies, strategies, career paths, benchmarks and infrastructure to support the teaching and learning activities in sport management.

Internationalisation, standardisation, accreditation, assessment, modes of teaching and learning and quality control of sport management curricula in Africa

Internationalisation of Africa’s higher education, and by implication sport management curricula, is one of the main mandates of the African Union (AU) and a high premium is placed on the quality of higher education as a tool for developing Africa. In this regard, the Arusha Convention (Crone, 2015) aims at harmonisation of academic programmes across the borders of African countries to enhance quality assurance and transferability of degree programmes. Although African universities, in general, realise and accept the essence of internationalisation, Africa is still very fragmented on different fronts including infrastructure, human capacity and linguistics. This could slow down progress in internationalising sport management curricula in Africa. The challenge for sport management educators is to develop curricula that harness human capacity and knowledge structures across borders to enhance compatibility and mobility of sport management curricula between African countries.

Another significant challenge emanating from the Africanisation of curricula is the delicate balance between contextualisation and standardisation. The challenge lies in combatting the notion that sport management curricula are universal in their content and teaching and learning modes. After all, managing sport in North America is the same as managing sport in Europe or Asia or Africa, isn’t it? Imitation and duplication of Western sport management curricula are not the answer for Africa and, frankly, for no part of the world. The challenge is to infuse curriculum content with African interpretations, viewpoints and knowledge structures that could generate enthusiasm and dynamism for sport management in Africa. Of course, there are elements of universality across curriculum topics but imitation and duplication will not facilitate growth of sport management in Africa.

Attempts to standardise sport management curricula on a global level must consequently be approached with great insight and broad consultation. The challenge in this regard would be to consult widely and inclusively to develop knowledge structures reflecting a wide range of qualification standards, exit-level outcomes and graduate attributes. The issue of accreditation of sport management curricula has been a topic of discussion for decades. Many authors explored and debated the issue of accreditation, for example the works of DeSensi, Kelley, Blanton, and Beitel (1990), Danylchuk and Boucher (2003), Jones, Brooks, and Mak (2008) and Letter (2007) up to the current debates and discourse in the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) and the World Association for Sport Management (WASM). Accreditation surely has many benefits, such as:

  • • Offering assurances to employers and students in a competitive job market;
  • • Attracting international students;
  • • Providing comparability between degree programmes;
  • • Providing peer recognition;
  • • Improved access to employment opportunities;
  • • Facilitating exchange programmes for students and academics and allowing easy transferability;
  • • Creating networks and collaboration.

Conversely, accreditation brings challenges to sport management curricula. Challenges for sport management curricula in Africa mostly revolve around the following questions:

  • • Who is the accrediting agency or accrediting agencies?
  • • What authority, credibility or legal status does the accrediting agency have?
  • • Is there inclusivity of consultation when formulating accreditation criteria?
  • • Are criteria for accreditation contextualised or do North American and European viewpoints dominate?
  • • Is the role of other existing external accrediting agencies in Africa acknowledged and discounted into a global accreditation strategy?

In the case of the latter, all degree programmes in higher education in South Africa, for example, are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) and embedded into the National Qualification Framework (NQF). Similar external accreditation bodies exist elsewhere in Africa. The challenge for a proposed accreditation agency is to acknowledge, recognise and blend accreditation processes and strategies currently operating in Africa and other parts of the world before proposing a global accreditation process.

The issue of contexts and conditions for assessment of competencies is a fundamental element of sport management curricula. It describes demonstrated activities that ensure evidence that learning and progress took place. Assessment contexts and conditions should allow students to demonstrate their ability to integrate theoretical, applied and procedural knowledge needed to function as a sport manager. Contexts and conditions for assessment include adequate physical infrastructure and opportunities, adequate library and IT facilities, adequate and relevant qualifications and experience of faculty and academic and related support for student monitoring and support. These conditions and contexts, in general, are not a problem in North America, Europe, Australia or Asia. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and internships are common contexts for assessment. In Africa, however, suitable opportunities for WIL or internships could present challenges that lead to students not immersed in appropriate assessment contexts. Adequate faculty in Africa with relevant qualifications in sport management is scarce. In many countries, employing international faculty before citizens of a country appears counterproductive. In the whole of Africa, there might be 50 academics with doctorates or MBAs in sport management, consequently influencing quality assurance and assessment.

Quality assurance of sport management curricula poses a further challenge in an African context. Credible and objective quality assurance can only be attained and maintained if final exit-level outcomes on undergraduate and graduate levels are moderated by a party external to the institution of higher education offering the sport management curriculum. This practice must form part of the quality control and governance policies of individual institutions. Even though many African institutions of higher education approach quality assurance in this manner, others tend to be the judge, jury and executioner of the quality of their own sport management curricula. This tendency was observed in other countries as well.

Modes of teaching sport management curricula are both an issue and a challenge in Africa. It seems as if sport management curricula at African universities are not anchored in or linked to African sport management reality. Sport management case studies, classifications, governance structures, examples and illustrations mostly come from Western realities and sociocultural constructs. African students are exposed to and educated in these non-contextual realities but are expected to work and follow a career in sport management on African soil. In discussions with academic colleagues in sport management at African universities, the irrelevance of sport management academic textbooks was mentioned by all. Case studies refer to professional teams in North America or Europe, governance structures of sport are explained from a Western viewpoint and illustrations depict sport management situations in Europe or North America. The issue of inappropriate academic textbooks is nested in the socio-economic reality of Africa. The market for academic textbooks is simply too small to be viable. Coupled with language variations across Africa, the challenge will be first to produce academic textbooks in sport management that are from Africa and for Africa preferably in some indigenous African languages other than English and, second, to attempt to eradicate the notion that being educated in a language other than European languages retards students’ intellectual development.

Currently, the debate around diverse teaching and learning delivery modes is ongoing in Africa. Different models of teaching and learning are explored, and it certainly is an issue relevant to sport management curricula as well. Socio- economic realities frequently push students away from the traditional classroom- based contact teaching and learning. E-learning is increasingly becoming a reality in some areas of Africa while, at the same time, in other areas, technology infrastructure is non-existent or unreliable. This brings a challenge when attempts to internationalise sport management curricula across the borders of African countries occur.

Capacity building in sport management

Today, a very real challenge for sport management curricula seems to be the “brain drain” of academics, prospective students and graduates to universities offering sport management curricula in developed countries. At this stage, unfortunately, it seems as if the brain drain is “out of Africa” rather than “into Africa”. This one-way brain drain is unmistakably impacting on the demand for sport management qualifications, universities’ willingness to offer curricula in this field and the number of qualified academics to develop and deliver meaningful sport management curricula.

Due to the limited size of the sport industry in Africa, institutions of higher learning often develop qualifications that prepare students for more than one career option. Qualification standards, purpose statements, learning domains, assessment contexts and graduate attributes of bachelor’s degrees often cut across the areas of physical education, sport and exercise sciences, coaching science and sport management to prepare students for general opportunities in the sport industry. Such a shotgun approach to curriculum development produces generalists rather than specialized sport managers and impedes capacity building in sport management. While being an inconvenient truth for sport management curricula, it is nevertheless a reality due to the limited demand for specialised sport managers in Africa. A vicious downward spiral develops as specialised career paths leading to doctorates in sport management are limited, fewer qualified academics emerge, less research undertaken to enhance and strengthen sport management curricula and less students interested in sport management as their career of choice.

Funding of sport management academic programmes at institutions of higher education

The vision and mission of institutions influence the development of sport management curricula. Both private and public educational institutions rely on funding for hiring personnel, buildings and maintaining facilities and equipment. Fields of study that do not attract sufficient numbers of interested students are simply not economically viable to offer. Institutions often then revert to generalised curricula instead of specialized sport management curricula, thereby perpetuating the downward spiral of capacity building.

Continental academic networks

Even though there are sport management scholars in most geographical parts of the African continent, it appears as if strong academic networks between African academics and beyond Africa are not well developed. An absence of an academic network challenges internationalisation of curricula. Academics working mostly in isolation hinders exchange of information for collaborative curriculum development, faculty and student exchange and similarly decreases opportunities for internships or postgraduate studies across country borders. Collaborative research in sport management improves teaching and learning practices and curriculum development and subsequently the demand for specialized sport managers. Collaborative research identifies appropriate practices. Implementation of these practices disseminated through the curriculum is an important catalyst in attracting and retaining the next generation of sport managers. Analysing accredited scholarly journals uncover limited scientific collaborative research on new, good or appropriate practices in sport management in an African context that could shape sport management curricula. The African Sport Management Association (ASMA) provides an ideal channel for scholars in sport management to network, but the existence and good work of ASMA are not widely known, let alone utilised, on the African continent.

General sport management degrees versus professional bachelor’s degrees in sport management

In discourses and writings on sport management curricula a myriad of terms is identified and used. The use of terms like profession, professionalism, professionalising, sport manager and sport administrator highlights the issues of conceptual and terminological confusion in the development of sport management curricula. Sport management, at this stage, is not a registered profession. It can be a career or a vocation. The term profession is generally reserved for regulated fields of study where a license is required by an independent agency or government to practice the profession. Examples of professions include nursing, engineering, medical physicians, teachers or chartered accountants.

The challenge for this terminological confusion in Africa as well as in the rest of the world is to consolidate and standardise terms used to explicitly describe the purpose of a specific sport management curriculum. Students must be informed at the start of their studies of the purposes and the level of the degree and should not be misinformed about it being a professional qualification. Until the sport management field has developed to such an extent that professional registration bodies in different countries, and ultimately a global body, are established to regulate and monitor practices and continued professional development of sport managers, it is simply a career or an occupation. Establishing an organisation where institutions of higher learning can voluntarily apply for accreditation of qualifications is unfortunately not equal to a professional registration body that regulates sport management qualifications. Considerable inclusive discussions in this regard are needed on continental and global levels.

Nano level

In 2014, Harris, Grappendorf, Veraldo and Archer expressed concern about female students’ perceptions toward their sport management degrees. In their research, they claim that women continue to be underrepresented in both management positions in sport and sport management academic degree programmes. Their results further indicated that female students perceive a concern regarding outsider’s perceptions of the degree, future job stability and job earnings and a chilly climate in the sport management classroom. This issue is pretty much duplicated in an African context. As stated previously, students do not perceive sport management as a significant career choice given the size of the sport industry in Africa. In a South African context specifically, female role models for aspiring sport management students are limited. Coupled with the reality that sport management is to a large extent a male-dominant environment, the challenge becomes to attract and recruit female students into degree programmes. When sport management curriculum standards require internships and work-integrated learning as assessment modes, female students may not experience it as a satisfying learning experience in a male-dominated environment. Indirectly, this could negatively influence the demand for sport management degrees and the growth of the field in Africa. The challenge for sport management curriculum developers is therefore to ensure equity and safety in internships and WIL for female students. Male domination of sport management programmes is also mirrored in the number of female academics in sport management in Africa with doctorates in sport management who are few and far between. It is logical to assume that this domination continues in curriculum design teams as well.

The way forward

When the issues and challenges discussed are considered, it could create the impression that sport management as a career and sport management curricula as the vehicle for preparation of sport managers are in trouble. Such an impression might not be correct.

Africa is a place of astonishing creativity and ingenuity. The saying “Ex Africa semper aliquid novi” - out of Africa always something new - could be interpreted that there are considerable opportunities for sport management curricula development and for sport management as an academic field of study. Some of the opportunities for sport management curriculum development in Africa include the following:

Africanisation of institutions of higher learning presents opportunities to renew and contextualise sport management curricula

Learning experiences are shaped by what is taught (curriculum content), the ways in which it is taught (pedagogy) and both are affected by assessment practices. Academics in sport management now have an opportunity to re-image and shape curricula to reflect Africa’s contexts. Contextualised curriculum content influences students’ attitudes and perceptions of sport management as a sustainable career option.

Collaborative research networks and subsequent curriculum improvement

Africa has adequate qualified academics and researchers to establish collaborative research networks that could translate African indigenous knowledge systems and realities into enabling an integrated curriculum with clear opportunities for contextualised W1L and other lived assessment experiences. Action plans for collaboration in this regard could be part of ASMA’s future strategies.

ASA1A as a vehicle for internationalisation of curricula

ASMA as scientific organisation for sport management in Africa already exists and could be a driver for accreditation of contextualised curricula in Africa, as well as for internationalisation of sport management curricula in Africa. To optimise ASMA’s vision, its reach and inclusivity, however, will have to be extended beyond East Africa.

Continental, regional and national sport events in Africa

Africa is increasingly hosting sport events on all levels. This presents an opportunity for curriculum developers to merge WIL and internships with sport events on the continent, in the region or in local communities to provide context to learning and assessment. Local sport events also present opportunities for case studies that bridge the gap between theory and sport management practice in the Pan-Africa context.

Sport management curricula as vehicles for shared value

As the role of sport in Africa becomes more prominent, curriculum developers become increasingly influential role players to promote broader recognition of sport’s social responsibilities. There is evidence that sport management could add value to surrounding society (Smith &. Westerbeek, 2007). Even though sport can be used to benefit society, whether directly or through shared value, the extent to which future sport managers are prepared to use sport’s power and magnitude to its full potential is a function of the quality of sport management curricula. In their work, Mallen and Maclear (2008) concluded that principles of corporate citizenship are evident but not specifically detailed in sport management pedagogy at a North American university. This could be valuable information for curriculum developers to translate knowledge fields and skills into exit-level outcomes that contribute to wider dimensions than mere playing and managing sport.


Sport in Africa needs appropriately educated sport managers to unlock sport’s potential in all societies and on all levels. A well-developed sport management curriculum provides the key to unlocking this potential. A sport management curriculum is not only a list of topics. It entails purpose statements, knowledge structures, exit-level outcomes, graduate attributes, range statements, teaching and learning strategies and assessment criteria and practices. Currently, it seems as if the major issue and challenges for sport management curricula on a micro level stems from leaning heavily towards North American, Australian and European curricula structures and strategies. This contextual dissonance is undoubtedly hampering curriculum development and capacity building in Africa.

Clear contextual pathways for career advancement are required to grow the sport management industry in Africa. Currently, many students do not see a long-term future in sport management. Therefore, education and development, mentoring and career planning as well as guidance are essential elements in any curriculum to improve satisfaction, retention and development of potential sport managers. From a curriculum development perspective, the good news, however, is that Africa has the human power, knowledge, enthusiasm and structures to, in the short term, Africanise and internationalise sport curricula and, in the long term, contribute significantly to the global discourse on sport management curricula standardisation and accreditation. The call is to involve Africa in discourses about sport management curriculum development and accreditation to accelerate the business of sport and quality of sport management onto the global stage. This could provide rewarding investment opportunities and returns for investors and sport management students in Africa.


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Mallen, C. A., & Maclear, J. (2008). Are we teaching corporate citizens? Examining corporate social responsibility and sport management pedagogy. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 4(2/3), 189-206.

Porter, M. E. (2011, September). Creating shared value in sports. Presentation at the Beyond Sport United Conference, New York.

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Chapter 4

How to assess the sporting impact of international sporting events in Taiwan

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