Category: Africa

Football made in Nigeria | A short story by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

Football made in Nigeria | A short story by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

Wearing boots and driven by the stern Coach Clemence, a Nigerian side discovers that it cannot play this imported game. “I can’t afford to spend all my life chasing the wind,” says Brother Okoro.

Koman Coulibaly, refereeing and the electronic scrum over 'truth'

Koman Coulibaly, refereeing and the electronic scrum over ‘truth’

Malian referee Koman Coulibaly is scapegoated in the U.S. draw with Slovenia Jun 18, launching a vicious Wikipedia war that sacrifices his humanity and ours.

From Johannesburg, lesbian footballers chosen to play, choosing to live

From Johannesburg, lesbian footballers chosen to play, choosing to live

Life in the FIFA-free zone | Chosen Few Lesbian Soccer Club in its witness to the healing powers of eros and sport outdoes FIFA in promoting football’s influence on self and society.

Afrika's tale—saved from the streets to play on the streets

Afrika’s tale—saved from the streets to play on the streets

Football’s powers of resurrection have rarely had a better exemplar than Martin Afrika. The 32-year-old captain for South Africa at the Homeless World Cup has reconstructed his identity through sport. With podcast »

Remembering Eudy, KwaThema's brightest, killed on its darkest night

Remembering Eudy, KwaThema’s brightest, killed on its darkest night

Eudy Simelane, former midfielder for the senior South African women’s national team, Banyana Banyana, shaped her world around football before her murder in Apr 08.

Obama schedules soccer summit in Soccer City

Barack Obama has put executive-branch muscle and street soccer cred behind the United States bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup finals. In Jun 2010 he will attend Opening Ceremonies at Soccer City in Soweto.

South Africa | At the top of our thoughts, near the bottom of the world

South Africa | At the top of our thoughts, near the bottom of the world

World football stands poised between an obscenity and a dream—the obscenity the £136 million to send two Lusophone footballers to Real Madrid, the dream a 2010 World Cup in South Africa that might make soccer here a sport for all.

The Zen of Mathare: brew changaa, carry water, play soccer

The Zen of Mathare: brew changaa, carry water, play soccer

The final installment, from Nairobi and Cape Town, from Gwendolyn Oxenham‘s diaries supporting The Soccer Project, a documentary about pickup soccer worldwide.

Africa | Destroyers v. Rebuilders, a Zimbabwean allegory

According to an extended allegorical match account mailed to the Zimbabwe Standard (“Matchless Match,” Apr 12), the Destroyers—meaning the state apparatus of entrenched president Robert Mugabe—hold a 10–2 edge over political opponents, the Rebuilders. (Apr 15)

Africa | In Liberia’s hidden places, amputee players wait for empowerment (w/ podcast)

Monrovia, Liberia, Apr 6 | Football has its hidden stories, but even when these stories are reported some aspects still remain hidden.

Such is the case with amputee footballers of Liberia, who on Apr 6 defeated neighbor Sierra Leone to earn the championship of the second All Africa Amputee Cup of Nations. In the final at Antoinette Tubman Stadium—the facility named for the spouse of former president William TubmanJunior Kulee scored Liberia’s lone goal. With 14-minute podcast.

Africa | Showing Mugabe the red card proves a difficult trick

Harare, Zimbabwe, Mar 28 | For nearly 10 years political opponents have tried to send off President Robert Mugabe, but he still has not left the pitch.

Drawing on the range of football metaphor in the Zimbabwean political process, the Movement for Democratic Change shortly after its founding in 1999 initiated a red-card campaign to retire the 84-year-old strongman, who has led the state since independence in 1980. Voters have another opportunity to reject Mugabe on Saturday at parliamentary and presidential elections.

Women’s football | Maize husks mark lines in Mzuzu, says Mr. Happy

One of the most lyrical descriptions of traveling to women’s football in Africa comes from the recent e-mail newsletter of Africa Unplugged in Nkhata Bay, Malawi. A revival of the charity’s Nkhata Bay United Sisters FC (see 15 Jan 07) involved several players participating in regional trials for the Malawi senior women’s team. (Mar 19)

Music | ‘Kwass Meda,’ a soccer field ‘where we will be joyous’

At the conclusion of the 2008 African Cup of Nations, we offer a new translation of Ejigayehu Shibabaw‘s, or Gigi‘s, song “Kwass Meda” (Soccer Field). The song features on the 2000 release One Ethiopia, with the translation from Amharic by Solomon Abebe and his nephew, Befekadu. (Feb 11)

Internet | Testing ‘liveblogging,’ with Ghana v. Cameroon

Our test of a “live blog” application, during the African Cup of Nations semifinal between Ghana and Cameroon, went swimmingly. That is, except for our miscalculation of Greenwich Mean Time, which meant that we missed the first half. The “replay” is available—second half only—with accent on the Ghanaian national anthem (which we missed) and on attempts to render international football in “claymation.” (Feb 7)

California, Ghana and a football exchange

Aiming to expand the reach of women’s football abroad and to build cultural awareness at home, San Francisco Bay Area coach Robert Sackey for the first time takes a girls’ team to his native Ghana. (Dec 17)

Morocco | Players on a masculine stage

Rabat, Morocco | Fulbright fellow Nicole Matuska wonders why players with the women’s club side she has been following for the past year are not watching the Women’s World Cup. “A paradox still exists. In spite of [their] achievements, the football field remains a masculine stage.”

Black Queens and Super Falcons dare to transgress on a 'crooked field'

Black Queens and Super Falcons dare to transgress on a ‘crooked field’

“For a woman to play [football] in many places is a transgression,” says Martha Saavedra in a 2007 podcast. Through her research in West Africa, Saavedra sees how football works to define masculinity.

Visual arts | The sixth photo-contest winner

The winner of the quarterly photo contest is posted.

Coverage abroad | In Islamic world, head scarves not always compulsory football equipment

Rabat, Morocco, Mar 11 | A cursory survey of women’s use of the hijab within football, in both Muslim and non-Muslim lands, shows variance that likely defies a systemic approach.

Sisters, united | Like mushrooms, women’s soccer sprouts in northern Malawi

Nkhata Bay, Malawi, Jan 15 | In this zone in northern Malawi, bordering Lake Nyasa along the southern terminus of the Great African Rift Valley, rates of HIV/Aids infection among pregnant women reach 24 percent. Lack of economic opportunity and education, isolation, alcohol abuse and boredom all contribute to the epidemic’s hold in a breathtakingly scenic countryside that lures tourists to well-appointed chalets.

But football for women offers an alternative in which Nkhata Bay Sisters United persist, although they must travel 62 miles round-trip to play many of their opponents in a 16-team league based in Mzuzu.

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