Category: Regions

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.

Cinema | For cinéastes, Fußballfilmfestival offers definitive fixture list

As one should not judge a book by the cover, one should not judge a film by its trailer. But the trailer for Maradona: La mano de Dios, which opened the 11mm Fußballfilmfestival in Berlin on Apr 4, sounds a warning: handle with care.

History | Remembering New Jersey’s immigrant soccer past

Newark, New Jersey, Mar 30 | At the start of its 13th season, MLS lacks a nuanced appreciation for history. But the sense of American soccer as a game among immigrant enclaves has been preserved, with regional focus, at Sport Clube Português and within a northeastern amateur league featuring divisions along ethnic lines (see New York Times coverage).

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.

Health | From schizophrenia to social anxiety, ‘football addresses it all’

As similar programs in Italy have discovered (see 12 Jan 07), a London-based football league presents “regular, constant, holistic treatment” for those afflicted with mental health problems ranging from schizophrenia to social anxiety (Angus Watson, “More Than a Game,” Financial Times, Mar 22). (Mar 25)

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)

Books | For centuries, life has had its uppies and downies

Hugh Hornby, author of a comprehensive account of Britain’s 15 surviving festival football games—Uppies and Downies: The Extraordinary Football Games of Britain (English Heritage, 2008)—says the ideal venue for these mass-participation events is a town of between 5,000 and 10,000. With podcast »

History | In hard stone, ancient ball-playing exploits remain

Ongoing exhibits in Chicago (“The Ancient Americas”) and Washington, D.C. (“Exploring the Early Americas”), feature artifacts of ball-playing in Mesoamerican cultures as part of larger surveys. (Mar 6)

China | Football at all compass points on EastSouthWestNorth

James Montague has dissected the “footballing Venn diagram of … political and social hatreds” that constituted the recent East Asian Championships in Chongqing, China (“Football? What Football? The Asian Game Is about Politics,” Guardian Unlimited, Mar 3). Within Asia, Montague concludes, football still comes with political intrigue, readily available in every permutation of a four-team round-robin featuring the hosts plus Japan, South Korea and North Korea. (Mar 5)

Books | Alan Sillitoe, channeling the angry young football man

Alan Sillitoe‘s work was on the syllabus in my short-story class as a college freshman. Naturally, the story considered most representative was “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner,” consisting of a teenage cross-country runner’s interior dialogues upon liberation each day from the Borstal fetters (“I’m a human being and I’ve got thoughts and secrets and bloody life inside me …”).

But a fresh assessment on Sillitoe’s 80th birthday today suggests that the short story “The Match,” which takes its tone from the terrace gloaming at Notts County’s Meadow Lane, might be the best introduction. (Mar 4)

Internet | ‘Liveblogging’ Dnipro Dnipropetrovs’k v. Dynamo Kyiv

We have covered the revival of the Ukrainian championship—back after winter break—and the weekend’s top fixture, second-place Dnipro Dnipropetrovs’k (43 points) hosting fourth-place Dynamo Kyiv (39). (Mar 2)

Books | Murakami runs from soccer, to the distance

As a sidebar to the Feb 29 entry (“A multihued archipelago, tuned to soccer’s harmonics”), part-time Hawai‘i resident Haruki Murakami reflects in a recent Spiegel Online interview on his sporting interests and their relationship to his writing (“When I Run I Am in a Peaceful Place,” Feb 20). (Mar 1)

Islands | A multihued archipelago, tuned to soccer’s harmonics

Honolulu, Feb 29 | Gamba Osaka’s 6–1 victory over Houston Dynamo in the Pan-Pacific Soccer Championships final added another jot to the history of the Japanese on the Hawaiian Islands—a history that spans three centuries and that has helped create a multicultural population well-suited to building soccer from the grassroots.

Trinidad & Tobago | Watching the match by not watching it

Global Voices profiles writer and blogger Nicholas Laughlin of Port of Spain, whose innovations include watching a football match by not watching it. (Feb 25)

Supporters | Material evidence of unruly rooting

Barcelona, Feb 20 | An exhibit of more than 400 pictures and artifacts of football fandom’s recent checkered history occasions surprise not for its place within the halls of culture but that the material evidence—a formaldehyde-drenched pig’s head, an evenly toasted Vespa—has been so lovingly preserved.

Islands | The pan-Pacific soccer paradise

Far from defying convention, soccer on the Hawaiian Islands is mainstream, with a year-round youth soccer schedule and active adult leagues, including the Women’s Island Soccer Association (see Michael Tsai, “Can the Pan-Pacific Soccer Tourney Deliver?Honolulu Advertiser, Feb 18). Such grassroots strength—for additional background, see our report of 7 Jun 06—has helped lure the Pan-Pacific Soccer Championships, which starts Feb 20. (Feb 19)

Internet | Adding Global Game widget

A Global Game widget is now available for websites, blogs, Facebook and so on. (Feb 13)

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)

Fields | A new place to play in Little Haiti

Miami, Feb 9 | A cultural renaissance in Miami’s La Petite Haiti (Little Haiti), the most populous Haitian neighborhood outside the Caribbean nation, continues as a community complex and soccer park conceived 10 years ago come to fruition.

A series of soccer games on 3 May will conclude two days of inaugural events, including an art exhibition at the nine-acre site at Northeast Second Avenue and 59th Street.

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)

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