AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Football is a Country

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Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The Black Manager

The announcement that Clarence Seedorf will be the new manager of AC Milan in Serie A immediately makes him the highest profile black club manager in the world, right? Though no other black manager has come close to the heights Seedorf has achieved here--except Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona (2003-2008)--we wondered whether we could make a list...

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Thanks to Eusébio, it’s common for European nations’ football fortunes to depend on African players today

Historian Eric Hobsbawn once wrote of the centrality of national soccer teams to national identity in Europe, that "the imagined community of millions seems more real as a team of eleven named people." And that allows it...

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Lilian Thuram’s Burden

Lilian Thuram isn’t just any footballer; he’s emerged as the game’s moral conscience, not just in the French-speaking world, but more broadly. So much so that recently a packed hall at New York University came to...

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Kwame Nkrumah’s team are going to the World Cup

Despite coming in for plenty of criticism from European and American journalists, Africa’s high-stakes, winner-takes-all World Cup qualifying system once again threw up an enthralling set of matches. The most remarkable result was Ghana’s whopping 6-1 win...

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The Big Boss

“I would like to dedicate the trophy to all African coaches. We’re not yet there, this team has taken just months to build. We will continue building.” It was a surreal moment on the night of...

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Remember the name: Keita Baldé Diao

SS Lazio is a club with a long history of fascism. Currently their biggest talent is Spanish-born Senegalese player Keita Baldé Diao. Remember the name.

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

The Dust Bowl

Sean Jacobs took this picture, enhanced by Instagram, in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, yesterday. This is a regular pickup game that’s been in existence for as long as Sean can remember. Here, btw, is how Elliot Ross...

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Steven Taylor is another No-nonsense (Racist) English Centre-Half

Those of us who follow Newcastle United have long known that our now fourth-choice centre back has a penchant for the crushingly stupid. It was no surprise, then, when Steven Taylor yesterday did the most Steven Taylor...

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

A Hollywood studio is making a film about Pele

Dramatic films about football–with few exceptions, say “Sixty Six” or “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation“– are usually a bust. It seems hard to recreate on-field action or to make connections to larger themes about the...

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Obiang’s son offers Equatorial Guinea’s national team a bonus of $6,7m if they beat Spain in friendly

We’re beginning to think the higher-ups at the Spanish FA didn’t really prepare themselves for what they were getting themselves into when they decided to schedule–at short notice–a meaningless friendly football match for La Roja against a...

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Obiang Who?

Amidst the worst economic and social crisis Spain can remember, there is an iconic institution living its most glorious days. The Spanish national football team, commonly remembered in the past for sour losses and unforgettable mistakes, has...

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Football and Dictatorships

World and European champions Spain will play Equatorial Guinea in a friendly in Malabo on November 16th. We can only speculate as to why Spain is playing this match. There’s of course history: Spain once colonized Equatorial...

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Kwadwo Asamoah makes it 150 appearances in Serie A

Asamoah, who just achieved milestone of 150 Serie A appearances, is not shy about publicly sharing his good fortune. He is a relentless tweeter, sharing pics of teammates including one of his son with Giorgio Ciellini (“Beauty...

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp says out loud what a lot of people think

If Barcelona's team of the last four years were the first one that I saw play when I was four years of age ... with their serenity, winning 5-0, 6-0 … I would have played tennis. Sorry,...

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

When marketing men make films about football

I finally got around to watching “Thierry Henry 1:1″ on iTunes. The promo material is written in breathless prose: “Who is the personality hidden in this dream career? … What are his ideals? What goals does he want...

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Palestine scores

UEFA may not have realized, but Palestine have already scored several goals in this season’s Champions League. Africa’s best striker was widely hailed as the outstanding player on the pitch in the Champions League game at Stamford...

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

The story of Chima Okorie, the Nigerian architecture student who became the hero of Indian football

He never played for the Super Eagles, but in India there’s only one Nigerian footballer everybody knows: Chima Okorie. Here are some excerpts from a new piece by Kanishk Tharoor (some readers may also know his brother...

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

The Love Affair between Nigerians and Arsenal

The love affair between Nigerians and Arsenal is an enduring one. Other English teams are also popular in the country, but the attachment many Nigerian football fans formed with the club during Nwankwo Kanu’s five year spell...

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Tuesday morning quarterbacking*

The meaningless football tournaments of the summer--mostly to the benefit of sponsors--are thankfully now over. Club football calendars from around the world have been synched (mainly to please European club owners), so this weekend was basically the...

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

After the World Cup is gone

Do we need a book on the 2010 World Cup already? That’s the first question I asked Peter Alegi and Chris Bolsmann, editors of the brand new volume, Africa’s World Cup (University of Michigan Press, 2013). Their quick riposte:...

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Jogo Bonito

“Tear gas is a magic potion,” writes Chris Gaffney from the streets of Rio. “Those who launch it are weakened while those forced to inhale it are strengthened.” For those of you interested in the politics of football...

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The left winger

“Me, for example, I’m a left winger, everyone knows that.”–Robert Bolaño, “The Return” It always seemed to me that the left legged player got a place in a football team for no other reason other than that he...

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Football Referee of the Year

My knowledge of European club football doesn’t stretch much further beyond what gets posted here on Football is a Country and the odd link I come across on our Twitter feed (blame my wary interest on the...

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

The Blood of the Impure

The French national anthem, La Marseillaise, is, if you think about it, a pretty nasty song. It dreams, in one of its more memorable verses, that the “blood of the impure” will “irrigate our fields.” It’s a...

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Pope Francis is a football fan

As Pope Francis supports San Lorenzo (nickname Los Santos), a team in Argentina’s Primera Division, what better way to dissect his ascension to the papacy than by way of football. The pope as intellectual For the first...

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Blue Kenyan

We may not all love Chelsea Football Club (John Terry, their klepto-petro-billionaire owner, John Terry, the list goes on) but we are loving the team’s Brazilian midfielder Ramires right now. And not just for that equalizing goal...

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

African Football Stars in America, Part One

FIFA President Sepp Blatter does not think highly of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States. But all this has not diminished some foreign players signing for MLS clubs. Especially African players. In this...

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Is there football in heaven?

When I was an adolescent I thought I was going to be a footballer. Instead, when I turned 13 I became a preacher. I told people about the great love that the Nazarene, Jesus Christ, had shown...

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The Branding of Kaizer Chiefs

On March 9th, the latest edition of the biggest club game in South Africa gets underway. The Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs always stokes a great rivalry between fans of the Buccaneers (Pirates) and...

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Watching the African Nations Cup Final at The Shrine in Harlem

February 10th, 2013, 1:30 pm. The Burkinabe and Nigerian expatriate communities were out in force for the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday afternoon in Harlem at the Burkinabe-owned music venue, The Shrine.

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