Thursday Feb 27, 2020. 16:05
If one were to ask the average African football fan for their favourite Spanish team, the answer would almost certainly be either Barcelona or Real Madrid, with the odd Atletico supporter thrown in for good measure.
However, if there is one La Liga team more worthy of their attention it is definitely Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine has identified Africa as a major avenue for market growth and is pushing hard to engage with fans on our continent.
In the course of this season they have become the first La Liga club to launch an African-specific Instagram account: @villarrealcfafrica.
It certainly helps that Villarreal has a strong recent history of African players (such as Ikechukwu Uche and Cedric Bakambu) and currently boasts three in their first-team squad: Cameroon’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Moroccan Sofian Chakla, and rising Nigerian star Samuel Chukwueze.
“We are trying to adapt to how people in Africa are consuming our content,” explained Villarreal Director of International Business, Juan Anton De Salas. “We are the only club in La Liga that has a specific channel in Instagram just dedicated to Africa.
“Why? Because we saw that on Facebook, Instagram, everywhere, the main accounts, we were growing very, very fast in terms of the African audience. Due to Samuel Chukwueze, due to [Karl] Toko Ekambi, who is no longer with us, and due to Zambo Anguissa. And we also have a couple of more African players in the development, in the academy.”
De Salas added, “There is not a strong population [of African people in Villarreal], but there is a strong attraction and whenever we have a match we see outsiders that maybe live in Madrid or Barcelona and want to see a game with Chukwueze and they come over.”
He continued, “We are trying to have a context for African fans to be able to interact, maybe get ticket, maybe have something happening in Villarreal. We wanted to adept the content that these African players were generating.”