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 nation, identity politics, institutional violence, capitalism or the romance of the beautiful game. And nowadays professional footballers’ lives off-field can be regimented and organized, drained of any real drama. Mario Balotelli, or before him Lilian Thuram or Eric Cantona are major exceptions.
Acting on a tip from an Ivorian diplomat on the best location to watch Les…
“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 and Moroka Swallows. This is the best goal I have seen in the PSL era: an extraordinary strike in a tense match Pirates were losing by a goal to nil. And while Swallows players were still scratching their heads in bewilderment, he got a second and sealed the match.
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 a form of poetic catharsis worthy of fiction or film.
This weekend Chelsea play Bayern Munchen in the European Champions League final. One player whose…
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 – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon – dominate the African numbers, each contributing around 20 players.
The Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) kicked off on Saturday, and things are already getting pretty interesting. Tunisia have beaten Morocco 2-1 last night. With Morocco being one of the favorites in the tournament, the win was unexpected and even Tunisia’s coach Sami Trebelsi admitted to being “surprised” at the “standard of play” by the North African nation. Perhaps the team’s rigor can be attributed to the national pride that has come with their recent revolution, which triggered the events that eventually became the Arab Spring.
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 post that comes complete with a table illustrating his findings.