Tony Mamodaly AFBS 2022

Tony Mamodaly grew up with a ball at his feet. He hails from a sporting family; his mother played volleyball competitively. His father, a Malagasy native, moved to Montpellier, France, at 19 to pursue a football career. Mamodaly himself was an all-rounded athlete, excelling in both handball and football. At 16, he played for TSG Hoffenheim and the Rhein-Neckar Löwen, both leading academies in Germany for their respective sports. A German youth international, the then 17-year-old had difficulties choosing when the prospect of going pro arose. Despite a promising journey, he fell short in both sports.

“It was a painful experience,” Mamodaly recalls. In his words, he was looking at the train leaving without him as he saw his peers sign pro contracts. Yet, amidst the depths of his despair, Mamodaly discovered his purpose. In 2015, Mamodaly founded Mind Game Sport to help released academy players who didn’t reach the top echelons. Only about 1% of academy players turn pro and join the Bundesliga. His goal was to help the other 99% that didn’t make it and help them find alternative paths to realizing their potential. “If the system in itself is not sustainable, you have to change the system,” Mamodaly told the African Football Business Show from Germany.

After spending most of his career in the United States, his parent club TSG Hoffenheim lured him back to Germany in February 2020, almost to the exact day, a decade later, albeit in a managerial position. He now serves as the Head of International Operations and is a member of the Bundesliga International Committee.

In his intricate role, which encompasses strategic, commercial and scouting elements, Mamodaly has co-engineered and oversees the club’s Common Value Club Alliance. The initiative unites six clubs across four continents, including Ghanaian giants Accra Hearts of Oak and MLS-frontrunner FC Cincinnati, among others, under one mission: “To develop excellence on and off the field, while adding value to the people, the planet and society.” Furthermore, the club is engaged in numerous long-term initiatives and projects on the continent, including the Bundesliga Youth Ambassador Program in Kenya and the club’s sustainable lifestyle brand Umoja (meaning ‘togetherness’ in Swahili) in Uganda, among others.

Mamodaly is a returnee to the African Football Business Summit, having attended the inaugural edition in 2022 after watching The Football Foundation of Africa’s Brian Wesaala’s interview with former Arsenal manager and FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger on the African Football Business Show. He loved the “purpose-driven approach” Wesaala took, and when invited through his colleague Stefan Wagner, attending the conference was a no-brainer.

Tony Mamodaly gifts FFA’s Brian Wesaala TSG’s signed jersey.

Speaking to the African Football Business Show via a link from Germany, Mamodaly expresses his excitement about returning to Nairobi for the 2023 edition of the African Football Business Summit, where he would like to hear more local clubs speaking about their approach to the beautiful game. He terms this as one of the improvements he hopes to see at the second instalment of The Africa Football Business Summit. He is eager to learn from his contemporaries and other stakeholder come September 2023. From the 2023 Summit, Mamodaly recalls the words of Anthony Baffoe, a former stalwart in Ghana’s Black Stars lineup, as a reaffirmation of the work that the club is doing. Baffoe’s words served as reassurance that “we are on the right path.”

As a parting shot, Mamodaly reveals a tattoo on his arm that is the mantra he lives life by. In French, it says, “Fortune Favors the Bold.” To him, “Even falling flat on your face is moving forward!”

The African Football Business Summit is delighted to have Mr Tony Mamodaly as one of its guest speakers for this year’s Summit.