AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Thursday, June 26th, 2014

No, soccer is not invading America. It’s been here all along

Despite these types of troll-y click-bait articles being a dime a dozen each and every World Cup cycle, Jeff Winkler’s piece in the Guardian, “‘Soccer’ is a virus invading America,” deserves special condemnation for how off the mark it is despite its boilerplate ‘ironic not ironic’ facade.

Monday, June 16th, 2014

For the Tiki-Taka Brigade

The annihilation of Spain by the Netherlands last Friday (5-1) shocked and delighted football fans, pundits and creatives all at once, so much so that European pundits have something else to talk about, like total football, rather...

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The Friendship Between China and Mozambique Will Last Forever Like the Heavens and the Earth

In Maputo, the “Garden for Sculptors” behind the Museu Nacional de Arte on Avenida Ho Chi Minh has become a kind of prison yard for Mozambique’s various Ozymandiases, a semi-public dumping ground where colonial monuments now crumble...

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Football, Art, and its Many Intersections: An Interview with Franklin Sirmans

Shortly after the opening of Fútbol: The Beautiful Game at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) I had the opportunity to speak with the exhibition’s curator, Franklin Sirmans. It was actually three days after the...

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

New Exhibition at LACMA Devoted to The Beautiful Game’s Global Significance

Today the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Fútbol: The Beautiful Game opens to the public. An exhibition curated by Franklin Sirmans, it is devoted to football’s global position as a “common human experience shared by spectators...

Monday, January 27th, 2014

The “Apartheid-era Robin Hood”

I wrote a long piece on Zola Mahobe, a Soweto businessman who died last December (two weeks after Nelson Mandela) and who is credited with transforming Mamelodi Sundowns. The team is currently one of the “big three”...

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Boss Player

The BBC news presenter Komla Dumor, who passed away this weekend from cardiac arrest, was an exceptional broadcaster; read Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie’s obit here. Everyone loved him. He was probably the most stylish newscaster also, and was well on his way...

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...

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...

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...

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Watching the Africans Cup of Nations at an Ivorian restaurant in Harlem

Acting on a tip from an Ivorian diplomat on the best location to watch Les Éléphants play in NYC, we headed up to Harlem to catch the Côte d’Ivoire–Tunisia match early Saturday morning. New Ivoire is a 17-year-old,...

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Photographing Afcon 2013 in Yeoville, Johannesburg

On a recent trip to Johannesburg (which is in Gauteng Province), a couple of friends decided to invade a Congolese restaurant in Yeoville; Kin Malebo on 31 Raleigh Street in Yeoville. The game was between DR Congo...

Monday, January 21st, 2013

What We Learned From Day Three of The 2013 African Cup of Nations

Ethiopia’s wily head coach Sewnet Bishaw turned this game with a substitution on 64′, bringing on Addis Hintsa in central midfield. It was Hintsa’s through-ball that opened up the Zambian defence, which four minutes earlier had been...

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Yannick Nyanga’s Tears

Last week, before a rugby test match between France and Australia in Marseille, as the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” began playing, Kinshasa-born rugby player Yannick Nyanga began sobbing uncontrollably. It went viral.  Nyanga then...

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

John Terry’s African Alibi

We British like nothing more than a nice inquiry. The exorbitant jail terms meted out to last year’s rioters (whether actual or merely theoretical) are commonly supposed to have been a great disappointment to us all, a sad sign of...

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

An ode to Benni McCarthy

“Why the f**k did he not do that at West Ham!!!” reads a YouTube comment in response to the video clip above featuring Benni McCarthy’s superb free kick in the 2011 Telkom Cup quarterfinal between Orlando Pirates...

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Drogbacite

There are some matches that end up seeming primarily the vehicle for one person to somehow attain mythical status. The Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern was written, it seems now, purely to allow Didier Drogba...

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Drogbacite

This weekend Chelsea play Bayern Munchen in the European Champions League final. One player whose contribution is likely to be decisive is the Ivorian Didier Drogba. Cup finals always end in triumph or disaster, and Drogba has...

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Fabrice Muamba and English football

British football isn’t known for its compassion, and it’s already been an explosive season of racist slurs and handshakes denied. But the recent collapse of Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder for Bolton Wanderers, has shown a different side...

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

‘Banana republic’

World Soccer magazine explains Russian football’s anti-racism strategies: Anzhi Makhachkala have expressed their disappointment over an “idiotic” banana throwing incident involving recent signing Christopher Samba. The Congolese defender had a banana thrown at him from the stands...

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Where do footballers playing in the top five European leagues come from?

The CIES Football Observatory in Switzerland (they study football) recently put out an interactive map trying to show where footballers playing in the top five European leagues come from. Unsurprisingly, West Africa’s big five -...

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Political Football in Egypt

Remember way back when in 2011, when I shouted out Egypt’s crazed football fans for kicking ass during and after the fall of Mubarak? Well, in honor of the upcoming protests marking one year since the initial...

Monday, January 16th, 2012

The French advantage

Academic and soccer fan Andrew Guest previews the 2012 African Cup of Nations for Football is Coming Home. He points to the French influence on teams that qualfied for the finals that start later this week. The...

Monday, October 31st, 2011

“I don’t go for third terms”

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Hugh Masekela’s football skills

This is a music break with a football reference in there. In 1984 Hugh Masekela’s single “Don’t Go Lose It Baby” (off the album “Techno Bush”) reached number two for two weeks on the dance charts. The...

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Black at Beşiktas

I finally got around to reading the piece (in The New Yorker ) about football culture among fanatical supporters of Beşiktas, one of the three big three clubs in Istanbul, Turkey, by the writer Elif Batuman. Unfortunately you need...

Friday, March 11th, 2011

‘Africa’s First World Cup’ Revisited

We’re allowed to talk about the 2010 World Cup until 2014. Later today our man, historian of African soccer, Peter Alegi, will deliver the keynote address at the 7th Sports in Africa Symposium at Ohio University. Since...

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion: World Cup edition

Look out for a a special issue of African Journalism Studies on “The Fifa World Cup 2010 in the News.” I guest edited.  While you’re contemplating whether you’d pay to read the opinions of academics on the greatest...

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Sunday Ephemera No. 4

Sean Jacobs This is worth remembering. In 2004 the Liberian footballer George Weah was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the Espys. (For those who don’t care: that’s sports channel ESPN’s versions of the Oscars.) This...

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Chelsea FC Supporters’ Club

English football is big in Africa. One reason as photographer Eric Lafforque explains–in the text accompanying his image on Flickr of a Hamar young man in rural Ethiopia repping for his club–is the role of free broadcasts of...

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