Mr Big Bucks and the Mamelodi Sundowns

January 25, 2014

sundowns-flag
“On December 5th of last year, South Africans bade farewell to Nelson Mandela. In general the new republic’s founding father was remembered as a principled, but pragmatic political leader. Some media coverage, however, reduced him to a one-dimensional figure, at odds with the larger South African struggle. That Mandela advocated armed struggle and formed alliances with communists was conveniently downplayed by all sorts of political causes and personalities whose politics Mandela would have opposed while he was alive, but who now claimed him as one of their own. Mandela was also favorably compared to his former wife Winnie Madikizela. His time in prison, presented as character-building, was contrasted with her increasing radicalism and criminal actions in the 1980s. Most black South Africans, however, were not scandalized by Mandela’s one-time celebration of violent struggle or his communist leanings, or by Winnie’s complicated, but flawed, legacy, which was formed in a more compromising, violent outside.” Roads and Kingdoms


After the World Cup is gone

October 24, 2013

“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). … That’s a good enough reason, and Peter and Chris are uniquely qualified to edit the book. Peter teaches history at Michigan State University and has written two books about African football (here and here). He also runs a football blog and shoots videos of himself walking from his home to his office playing keepy uppy. Chris, a former club footballer in South Africa’s capital Pretoria, is a sociologist based in the UK. He has written a number of academic articles about football, including on the cultural significance of Mark Fish, one of a few white players to represent South Africa after Apartheid and who played for Lazio in Serie A (he’s one of a few South Africans who played in Serie A).” Africas A Country


African Cup of Nations: Quarter final preview

February 1, 2013

“After twelve days of soccer in South Africa, eight nations are set to battle it out as the journey towards the final of the 29th Africa Cup of Nations continues. South Africa, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso,Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Togo have all booked their places in the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations tourney. The Black Stars of Ghana will lock horns with the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in the first of a series of four quarter final games starting on Saturday, January 29. Coming into the game as the clear under dogs, Cape Verde will undoubtedly hope their fairy tale story in South Africa continues especially after defying the odds to qualify for the next round ahead of the more fancied Morocco and Angola in Group A. Though they had eliminated Cameroon during the qualifiers for the tourney, little was expected from the debutants, who have so far defied expectations. The Blue Sharks boisterous march in the tourney, led by coach Lucio Antunes, has caught the attention of many soccer pundits.” Think Football

Emmanuel Adebayor puts Cabinda behind him as Togo go through
“Togo secured the draw they needed against Tunisia and so made it through to the quarter-final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history. Those are the bald facts, but they don’t begin to tell anything like the full story of an extraordinary night at the Mbombela. It may not have been great football, but it was magnificent drama. The Sparrowhawks, exploiting Tunisia’s shambolic offside line, broke through again and again in the early stages and eventually took the lead after 13 minutes, Emmanuel Adebayor laying in Serge Gakpo, whose firm low shot from just inside the penalty area beat Moez Ben Cherifia.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


No North African side in the last eight

January 30, 2013

Algeria's Sofiane Feghouli and South Africa's Dean Furman
Sofiane Feghouli, Algeria
“Didier Drogba scored his first goal of the African Nations’ Cup to ensure Ivory Coast go into the quarterfinals on an unbeaten run in the competition. Their opponents in that match, Nigeria, and their place in the group was already decided but they surged back anyways from 2-0 down to draw level with Algeria. The group’s bottom-feeders left with their respect intact. Although Algeria failed to record a single win in the competition, similar to their 2010 World Cup, the much-talked about Sofiane Feghouli made his impact on the competition with a goal through a penalty and assist for Hilal Soudini. But Algeria’s disappointment was compounded with Tunisia’s exit which means that no North African team will play the quarter-finals of the 2013 ANC.” ESPN

Mali’s Seydou Keita hails ‘priceless hope’ brought to crisis-torn land
“For Mali, this is becoming a habit: win the first group game narrowly, lose to Ghana, do just enough in the third match to get through and set up a quarter-final against the hosts. What they did in Libreville a year ago, when they beat Gabon on penalties, they will have to do again on Saturday as they face a newly enthused South Africa in Durban.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Tiny Cape Verde is Africa Cup of Nations’ Cinderella story
“When Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes entered the press conference room in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, he found his team had gotten there before him. They were lined up on the dais behind the desk, bouncing up and down in glee as a African Football Confederation official sat sheepishly in the foreground, aware he had formalities to complete but unwilling to interrupt the jubilation. Defender Gege, wearing his shirt back to front, leapt on a chair and carried on dancing. Antunes, at 46 and a little too old for that sort of thing, initially looked a little uncomfortable but then, after some awkward shuffling, draped himself in the flag and began directing the celebrations. Usually, he directs planes.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Salomon Kalou, Ivory Coast eye missing Africa Cup of Nations title
“he Africa Cup of Nations has always been one of my favorite international tournaments, and for the first time it’s possible for fans in the U.S. to watch every game live easily and legally, thanks to ESPN3 picking up the rights. One of the biggest storylines is whether a remarkable generation of Ivory Coast players — Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Touré, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and others — can finally get over the hump and win the tournament after falling short in each of the past four occasions.” SI


The 2013 African Cup Of Nations: Seconds Outs, Round Two

January 28, 2013

CAN2013-Bafana
“The 2013 AFCON is neither the first nor last international football tournament to have an, ahem, ‘disappointing’ opening round of group matches. But that has usually been down to teams’ fear of losing their first game, something which the laws of football say you must not do. In South Africa, even when the attitude wasn’t fearful, the football was mostly dreadful. The second round had to be better. Didn’t it?” twohundredpercent

Tiny Cape Verde is Africa Cup of Nations’ Cinderella story
“When Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes entered the press conference room in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, he found his team had gotten there before him. They were lined up on the dais behind the desk, bouncing up and down in glee as a African Football Confederation official sat sheepishly in the foreground, aware he had formalities to complete but unwilling to interrupt the jubilation.” SI – Jonathan Wilson
Jonathan Wilson

Salomon Kalou, Ivory Coast eye missing Africa Cup of Nations title
“The Africa Cup of Nations has always been one of my favorite international tournaments, and for the first time it’s possible for fans in the U.S. to watch every game live easily and legally, thanks to ESPN3 picking up the rights. One of the biggest storylines is whether a remarkable generation of Ivory Coast players — Didier Drogba, Yaya and Kolo Touré, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and others — can finally get over the hump and win the tournament after falling short in each of the past four occasions.” SI


Africa Cup of Nations preview: Ivory Coast primed to fly or flop again

January 19, 2013

“Ah, Ivory Coast. As we approach kick-off in another Africa Cup of Nations, all we can say for sure is that it would be as foolish to back against Didier Drogba & Co as it would be cavalier to count on them. For the fifth time in a row the Elephants go into the tournament as one of the heaviest favourites, but this time no one will be surprised if they flop in timid or traumatic fashion. Bad luck and bad attitudes have been foremost among the factors that have led to seemingly the most gifted generation of Ivorian players losing the 2006 and 2012 Nations Cup finals on penalties and getting dumped out of the two tournaments between by opponents who turned out to be sharper and more balanced (Egypt in the 2008 semi-finals and Algeria in the 2010 quarter-finals).” Guardian


The African Cup Of Nations: Back So Soon?

January 19, 2013

“Whether it was a sign of maturity or resignation, it was good to hear so little moaning from Premier League clubs about losing African international players to Africa’s Cup of Nations, especially given the decision to move the biennial tournament away from World Cup finals’ years by holding tournaments in 2012 and 2013. But Premier League clubs have accepted their temporary depletion of playing resource with relatively good grace, with the minor kerfuffle over Tottenham’s Emanuel Adebayor down to the player’s selection uncertainties – the Togolese striker being dropped for criticism of the team’s management before being re-instated at the behest of their football federation chief.” twohundredpercent

African Cup of Nations Preview: Group D
“Group D: Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tunisia, Togo. This looks the most difficult group having been labelled the `Group of Death` by most football pundits. Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia are all powerful football nations in Africa. Togo can’t be taken for granted either, they can boast of some talented footballers who can win games individually such as Adebayor. This is also a very tricky group and very difficult to predict, but I will be brave to make my prediction. I see Ivory Coast and Tunisia advancing from this group. Tunisia play as a team and most of their players play together in the local league. Ivory Coast have some of the best players in World football and will likely put in a strong showing again.” Think Football


African Cup of Nations 2013 Preview: Group A

January 15, 2013

hp2
“The Africa cup of nation which is the biggest football tournament in Africa, will kick off in South Africa from January 19th to February 10th 2013, promising to be an incredibly exciting tournament. As always the case at the AFCON, last year was filled with some beautiful football, great goals, drama and passion. Zambia surprisingly emerged as winners of the last edition after defeating favourites Ivory Coast in the final. The last time they reached the final was in 1994, just a year after 18 of their national team members died in a plane crash as they took off from the Gabonese capital Libreville. For Zambian football it was a devastating plane crash. Coincidentally last year final also took place in Gabon.” Think Football


Nigeria and Ghana battle the egos in Africa Cup of Nations buildup

January 9, 2013

Marseille's Andre Ayew
André Ayew
“There is a new mood of militancy about west African football. The buildup to previous Cups of Nations has often been dominated by will-he-won’t-he sagas as big-name players decide whether they really want to take a month out of the league season to go to play for their countries. This year, the coaches have hit back. The Ghana coach, Kwesi Appiah, on Monday omitted Marseille’s André Ayew from his squad after the Marseille winger reportedly turned up late for a squad get-together; he follows Nigeria’s Steve Keshi, who had already refused to select Peter Odemwingie and Shola Ameobi on the grounds they didn’t seem bothered enough about representing their country.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Match-fixing scandal in South Africa overshadows Africa Cup of Nations

January 3, 2013

South Africa
“So much for the World Cup legacy. As South Africa prepares to host the Africa Cup of Nations, it should have been celebrating the fact that it had the infrastructure to step in as host when civil war forced the tournament to be moved from Libya, showing off once again the infrastructure built for 2010. As it is, the South African Football Association is left dealing with a match-fixing scandal whose tentacles stretch across the world and that has forced its president and four other officials to stand down.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Gavin Hamilton Euro 2012 diary, June 20, Warsaw

June 20, 2012

“The longer England stay in this tournament, the luckier they get. Last night’s win over Ukraine – the first time England have beaten the hosts at a tournament – included a huge dose of luck, with the match officials refusing to award Ukraine a goal after Marko Devic’s shot was cleared from behind the line by John Terry. However, England demonstrated a spirit and sense of togetherness that was lacking in South Africa.” World Soccer


The Team of Choice In the Windy City

December 23, 2011


“Across the road from Alexandra High School, where I spent five years of my childhood, is the Harry Gwala Stadium. Named after an African National Congress icon, it is the home of South African top flight club Maritzburg United. Not much more than a pitch, some stands, and some floodlights, it is an unprepossessing venue. Yet it has become something of a fortress in recent years, in keeping with Mr Gwala’s combative spirit. Had United played all their games at home last season, they would have ended snugly in the top half of the PSL log. By contrast, they were second from bottom in the ‘away table.’ The team’s home record owes much to passionate local supporters, who, unusually for South Africa, are drawn from all racial groups.” In Bed With Maradona


Africans in European football: the best of 2010-2011?

June 6, 2011

“It’s been another momentous year for African footballers, with players from the continent involved in title-winning sides in Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Others have won a domestic cup, although the biggest trophy on offer ended up in the hands of Mali’s Seydou Keita after his Barcelona side destroyed Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday.” BBC


The Ball Day 29 – Soccer + Breakdancing in Morocco

March 24, 2011

“The Ball continues to spread it’s message of participation, no boundaries, and unity and today they visit a Casablanca children’s dance group to play soccer and find out how breakdancing and soccer go hand in hand. This EP has music again from the great Jali Bakary with ‘Combination’ a nice tune from his new album.” The Ball


The Ball Day 23 – Crossing into Africa

February 25, 2011

“Today is Andrew, Christian and The Ball’s final day in Europe on the 2010 trip to South Africa, see the historic crossing into Morocco in today’s EP where the music is by Kenyan band ‘Just a Band,’ find out more and buy the song Sunrise.” The Ball 2010


AFRICA10: feature documentary finishing funds

December 28, 2010

“AFRICA10 is a character-based feature documentary about the incredible spirit of soccer in Africa. We feature five inspiring stories from across the continent, intercut with commentary from famous Africans including Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu and players such as Michael Essien, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roger Miller. AFRICA10 illustrates, in a dramatic and visual way, how soccer is helping Africans lift themselves up.” KickStarter


USA-South Africa Final Thoughts and Player Ratings

November 19, 2010

“As usual, though a bit late, here are three quick thoughts and player ratings from Wednesday’s 1-0 United States Men’s National Team victory over South Africa in the Nelson Mandela Cup. I promise to litter a bit of optimism in my piece without discounting Dr. Crowley’s egg-nog sized glass of pessimism. I found a few things in the Yanks Cape Town performance particularly worthy of optimism, and since we’re nearing the holidays and that’s the season of perpetual hope, I’ll begin there.” (Yanks are coming)


United States 1, South Africa 0: Some Negative In A Good Result

November 18, 2010

“Just before kickoff Neil sent an email to the TYAC staff that said ‘BORNSTEIN is your captain gentlemen. Try not to kill yourselves.’ I wrote back ‘I hate to tell you I told you so…..’ because Neil and I had a talk about this last weekend and I was convinced that this was going to happen. Levy countered with a couple jokes about his tribe. I thought the TYAC e-mail string would end there, but it was not to be. Apparently, today was the day where collectively as a unit, all major players at TYAC decided, at least for a little while, that we were going to e-mail bomb one another for the day in celebration of the last USMNT game of the year.” (Yanks are coming)

South Africa 0-1 USA – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Friendly
(The 90th Minute)


Streetball – Trailer

October 14, 2010

“Meet the soccer players of South Africa’s 2008 Homeless World Cup team and their leaders in the Cape Town community.” (Streetball)


FIFA SOCCER 11: “We Are 11″ Series, Episode 1 – “Vuvuzela Saddam”

September 25, 2010

“Let us present to you ‘We Are 11.’ It’s being produced by VBS in conjunction with the release of EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer 11. The first installment of the series profiles the Flavor Flav of the soccer world, a man that transcends employment. Meet the man they call Vuvuzela Saddam.” (The Original Winger)


The Ball Day 51 – Visiting the Dogon Country pt. 2

August 28, 2010

“Here is part 2 in Phil and Andrew’s trip visiting the Dogon Country in Mali. Catch them stumbling across a village funeral procession before heading out to the hills for some sunset soccer action. Music in this EP from a The Ball favorite Iba Diabaté with ‘Wala Yalala’ which you could download from here. Then we round out the EP with a track from Konteh Kunda and the great track ‘Jaraby’ that you can download from here or from iTunes. Both artists from the ever expanding Akwaaba Music stable, real African music direct from the source.” (Blip)


Football’s not the place for choreographed chanting

August 11, 2010

“One of the main complaints about the vuvuzela was that its ongoing monotone bleat failed to reflect the changes in the patterns of play. Perfect through pass – parp! Contortionist reflex save – parp! Studs-up attack on an opponent’s shin in the centre-circle – parp! The same could be said for choreographed chanting, which in many modern stadiums has become the preferred method of creating a decent atmosphere. But while it’s impressively co-ordinated and far more pleasing to the ear than the plastic horn of hell, this Germanic phenomenon lacks an ingredient crucial to football – spontaneity.” (WSC)


The Ball Day 50 – Visiting the Dogon Country pt. 1

August 3, 2010

“Here is part 1 of a 2 part piece following The Ball as it journeys in the back country of Mali to the Dogon area searching for some off the beaten track football action. Music in this EP is from Akwaaba Music artists Baba Salah from Mali with ‘Borey,’ Alou Sangare with ‘Dugu Djeto,’ find the song here and check out the music video here. Then we have another spin for Mic’Mo Lion with ‘Niengo’ and finally a track from the awesomely named Peace Singers of Adabraka Official Town with ‘Take Four’.” (The Ball 2010)


The Ball Day 49 – Mali, The world’s largest Mud Mosque

July 30, 2010

“Yes you read it right, The Ball visits a beautiful mud mosque in Djenne, Mali, one of the largest of its kind in the world. You can find out more about this amazing building right here. Music in this EP is from Ghanaian Quabena Philip with ‘Wadaada Me,’ find the track from Akwaaba Music right here on Fairtizler. Also in this EP the second track you hear is from a favorite artist of us here, Iba Diabate with ‘N’nah.’ Find his latest album and the track featured right here at Bandcamp.” (The Ball 2010)


World Cup 2010: Tests ahead as focus turns to Brazil

July 29, 2010

“Since the start of the tournament, delegations from the South American country’s federal and local governments, plus several other different institutions, have been in South Africa trying to learn lessons about staging the world’s biggest sporting event. That’s because, in four years, it will be Brazil’s turn to play host.” (BBC)


The dark arts of sticker collecting

July 27, 2010

“Never mind Mesut Ozil. Forget Thomas Mueller. And as for Keisuke Honda … pah! The discovery of the World Cup was Danny Shittu. Maybe not in South Africa, but certainly in Spain. He might not have made much of an impact on the football field but, boy, has he made an impact off it. Even if he doesn’t realize it himself. Nothing can match the joy of laying your eyes on the Nigeria defender. Danny Shittu / Lagos, 2-9-1980 / 1,88m / 81 kg / Bolton Wanderers (ENG) … No. 133 in the Panini sticker album for the 2010 World Cup. It’s confession time: I am over 30 and I am collecting soccer stickers.” (SI)


The Ball

July 23, 2010


“Alive & Kicking balls are hand stitched out of local leather. They are tougher than imported synthetic balls, last far longer on rough ground and therefore give children in Africa lasting fun. Every ball carries a message about HIV/AIDS and malaria which can be used by teachers and sports coaches to broach discussions with children on deadly disease.” (Alive and Kicking)


The Ball Day 48 – Farewell Bamako

July 22, 2010

“The Ball says final goodbyes to friends made in Bamako as it heads off the beaten track ou route to Burkina Faso. This EP we have a great song from Mamou Sidibé and her new release on Akwaaba Music with “Mary” find the album on iTunes. ; Check it.” (Blip)


The Ball Day 45 – Mali backtracking, hair braiding & football

July 20, 2010

“Bus rides, hair braiding, and the spirit of football go hand in hand. The Ball continues its journey through Mali this time heading out on some backtracking through more remotes parts of Mali away from Bamako.Today’s EP features music from Akwaaba Music artist Iba Diabate with ‘Dakan Tessa’ listen and download the track at Bandcamp. The second track is from Mamou Sidibe with ‘Tounge’ and you can find it on iTunes right here.” (The Ball 2010)


Brazilian league lacks bite

July 19, 2010

“Spain or Barcelona? No contest. Week in, week out, Barcelona combine the midfield interplay of Xavi and Iniesta with the cutting edge of Lionel Messi, Daniel Alves and co. The comparison serves to confirm the impression that these days club football is of a much higher standard than international – as long as we restrict the debate to the major European leagues. The big clubs in Spain, England, Italy and Germany are in front of the national teams because of the time their players spend together and because they count on the best talent from all over the planet. When the World Cup stops and domestic football returns, the level of play goes up.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


Feel It: Reflections on South Africa 2010 and the Contradictions of Fandom

July 19, 2010

“Though a round-about series of unplanned events, a few weeks ago I ended up watching South Africa play France in an immense and busy fan park in a dusty working class outskirt of Pretoria/Tshwane. In the fan park, while stumbling around looking for an angle on one of the big-screens, a couple South African fans glommed onto my American friend and me with curiosity: other than some staff running the show, we seemed to be two of the few white people in the place and we obviously didn’t quite know what we were doing. So, as always seemed to happen during World Cup 2010, the locals took it upon themselves to look out for us.” (Pitch Invasion)


This time for South Africa?

July 18, 2010


“As the sound of the Vuvzelas dies away – at least until the start of South Africa’s domestic league season – many South Africans begin to get on with their normal lives. But did the tournament, which was hailed as an unprecedented success, really make things better for South Africans like the papers are saying it has? I decided to ask them.” (Not on the Wires)


Not For Glory Alone

July 17, 2010

“Two billion souls: One must begin with that. That’s how many people, or nearly so, sat or stood in view of television screens to watch twenty-two men kick a white ball around a green field on a warm July night in Berlin four years ago. The twenty-two men comprised the men’s national soccer teams of Italy and France. The occasion was the final game of the 2006 World Cup. The cagey match, as the world now knows, turned on an extraordinary event near its end when France’s captain and star, Zinedine Zidane, strode toward the Italian defender Marco Materazzi and, for reasons unknown, drove his bald pate into the taller man’s chest. The motion mimicked one he’d used a few minutes earlier to head a flighted ball inches over the Italians’ goal, coming ago nizingly close to winning the day for France. Now Zidane was expelled, his team was rattled, and a player in blue whose name few outside Umbria and Trieste recall darted inside a player in white and curled the ball inside the French goal with his left foot, cueing images, on countless flickering screens around the planet, of his countrymen celebrating Italy’s triumph in the floodlit waters of the Trevi fountain in Rome.” (Laphams Quarterly)


World Cup scouting: The 32 – Conclusions

July 16, 2010


Antonio Di Natale
“Starting with Nicolás Lodeiro back in December last year, Football Further selected 32 players to watch out for at the 2010 World Cup and then tracked their progress through the tournament via weekly scouting reports. Below is a full compilation of those reports, along with conclusions (and marks out of 10) on how each player performed.” (Football Further)


‘Octodamus’ and other surprises – Eduardo Galeano

July 15, 2010


Mensaje de Eduardo Galeano para América Latina Cartagena de Indias, Julio de 1997
“Pacho Marturana, a man with vast experience in these battles, says that football is a magical realm where anything can happen. And this World Cup has confirmed his words: it was an unusual World Cup. The 10 stadiums where the Cup was played were unusual, beautiful, immense, and cost a fortune. Who knows how South Africa will be able to keep these cement behemoths operating amid pulverising poverty? The Adidas Jabulani ball was unusual, slippery and half mad, fled hands and disobeyed feet. It was introduced despite players not liking it at all. But from their castle in Zurich, the tsars of football impose, they don’t propose. …” (Dispatch)


Paving The Way For South Africa 2010: Ydnekatchew Tessema, Forgotten Hero Of African Soccer

July 15, 2010

“National team player, national team coach for his country’s only major international triumph, co-founder of his continent’s FIFA confederation, president of that confederation for 15 years, and in many ways the man who set in motion the whole chain of events that led to South Africa becoming the first African nation to host the World Cup: the late Ethiopian visionary Ydnekatchew Tessema deserves greater prominence in the annals of soccer history than he has received. Tessema’s remarkable story intertwined with deconolisation, the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the battle for respect and opportunities for African soccer in the face of a Eurocentric FIFA.” (Pitch Invasion)


The Ball Day 43 – Bamako Mali: The Ball is about…

July 15, 2010

“The Ball continues its travels in Mali experiencing the randomness that is The Ball’s daily life. Music in this EP from Figura “Ze Bula” (Chancha via Circuito Remix) find the track right here. Next track is from Senegalese artist Rahmane Diallo with “Ndeye Fama” find some of their music here. The last track is from Mamou Sidibe with “Filalou” find the song here and more about this artist from Mali here at Akwaaba Music.” (Blip)


World Cup 2010: A tactical review

July 14, 2010


Marcello Bielsa
“At the dawn of the tournament Football Further posed ten tactical questions that the World Cup would answer. Three days after Spain’s tense extra-time victory over the Netherlands in the final, the answers to those questions reflect a tournament in which defensive rigour was overwhelmingly de riguer and tactical innovation conspicious by its rarity.” (Football Further)


Finale

July 14, 2010

“Two days after the World Cup final, the whole event seems slightly surreal. I’m returning from South Africa today, having survived on my last day here a gauntlet of baboons and a march up a gorgeous mountain, after arriving on the 26th of June just in time to see Ghana beat the U.S. I’ve had the privilege of watching seven games, including the Cape Town semi-final and the final in Johannesburg. I’ve come to know and love the vuvuzela — and, yes, I’m bringing one home to blow at Duke soccer matches this fall. It was rapture on many levels, and now it’s passed.” (Soccer Politics)


Africa, FIFA and Government Interference: Dealing With Corruption In Soccer

July 12, 2010

“The most important development in African soccer taking place this year might not be the World Cup in South Africa — despite its successful staging (oh, yeah, it seems to have turned out that Cabinda is not in South Africa) — argues Paul Doyle in an excellent Guardian piece on domestic African leagues, specifically, the possibility that Kenya might be leading the way with new leadership in the Kenyan Premier League…” (Pitch Invasion)


To Those With Nothing, Soccer Is Everything

July 12, 2010

 
“Jessica Hilltout, a nomadic, Belgian-born photographer, loaded sacks of deflated soccer balls onto the roof of a battered yellow Volkswagen Beetle last year and began a seven-month road trip across Africa to document the continent’s love of the game. She found it in villages where children played with joyous abandon on dusty patches of ground, sandy beaches and lush fields, far from the stadiums where Africa’s first World Cup would be held.” (NYT), (Jessica Hilltout)


In Celebration of Soccer Artistry, a Mix of Styles

July 11, 2010


Guguletu Strike, Ed Gray
“For most South Africans, soccer looks like the images in Clint Strydom’s high-contrast black and white photographs. Barefoot pre-teen boys sporting broad smiles kicking a ragged ball through sand and dirt in KwaZulu Natal. ” (NYT)


Racial harmony? Not yet, but SAfrica makes strides

July 10, 2010

“World Cup fever, and the racial harmony it has inspired in her country, is something Caroline Motholo has experienced only from afar. On the periphery of her more-than-full life – she runs a day-care center catering mostly to orphans whose parents have died of AIDS – she has seen the images: white and black South Africans side by side in the stadiums and fan parks, cheering together for their national team before its ouster, sharing pride that their once-shunned homeland is host for such a grand event.” (SI)


Nigeria and Match-Fixing at the World Cup: The Vulnerability Remains

July 10, 2010

“Just to end the week on a depressing note, we hear about a BBC Newsnight report that says FIFA was warned Nigeria might be ‘vulnerable to match-fixing’.” (Pitch Invasion)


World Cup 2010 – a truly international tournament

July 9, 2010

“After travelling through South Africa for three weeks I have struggled to find anyone who is not interested in the World Cup. The owner of the guesthouse I stayed at in Johannesburg, a former rugby professional, has watched every televised game. I spoke to an old anti-Apartheid campaigner at the fan-park in Cape Town.” (WSC)


Europe is still football’s dominant force

July 6, 2010

“Wasn’t it just a few glasses of Chardonnay ago that European soccer was melting faster than a wedge of warm Brie? France, Italy and England — three of the continent’s soccer superpowers — had gone home in various levels of disgrace. To make matters worse, all five of South America’s entrants had moved on to the knockout round, with all but Chile winning its group.” (ESPN)


Following England in South Africa

July 5, 2010

“The 2010 World Cup was my first time following England abroad and a hugely enjoyable experience it was, despite the results. Wandering around Johannesburg airport on Monday night (my flight had been delayed because of the plane taking the England team home, to add insult to injury), I came across a snack bar called Capellos, which promised ‘Food. Passion. People’. I couldn’t help but snort.” (WSC)


Hearing (African) Voices: The Twenty Ten Project

July 3, 2010

“Much of what we read about this World Cup comes from a sanitized McWorld that represents one side of globalization: the stadiums, hotels, shopping malls, media hospitality suites, and articles of South Africa are often only slightly different from the same anywhere in the world at any other modern mega-event. In places such as Johannesburg and Cape Town it is easy to stay in familiar worlds, and sometimes hard to experience anything else: writers at this World Cup for outlets such as Sports Illustrated have to, apparently, sneak away from their ‘security task force’ in order to leave the ‘compound’ for something as simple as a haircut. The consequent perspectives offer little that an imaginative writer could not produce with a fast internet connection from any airport Hilton.” (Pitch Invasion)


Shakira’s Remake of “Waka Waka” Hurts My Soul

July 1, 2010


“I’m sure by now many of you have heard Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka’, a white-washed remake of an old Cameroonian song by Zangalewa masquerading as a World Cup anthem. As I’ve heard Shakira’s version throughout the tournament, I’ve been quite confident that puppies somewhere have been dying. And then something odd happened. I started humming “Waka Waka” everywhere and I’ve been hating myself ever since.” (Nutmeg Radio)


World Cup Quarters – “& Then There Were 8″

July 1, 2010

“The typical suspects have overcome group stage difficulties to rise to the top. However, no smoking gun has appeared to point out the single culprit most likely to win the tournament. Using a really big magnifying glass, a trench coat, a smart talking sidekick, and intuition, we embarked on an investigation of the remaining teams in this World Cup quarterfinals, searching for clues in a sea of uncertainty. Our conclusion as to who will win the World Cup?” (futfanatico)


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