Playing the Francophone Advantage in Africa: A Colonialism Review / Africa Cup of Nations Preview

January 5, 2010

“Part of the brilliance of the Africa Cup of Nations is the way it puts the diverse stories of the continent on vivid display. Consider, for example, the contrasts in the tournament opener on January 10th when host Angola plays Mali. Angola’s story is one of hope for the future—having only recently emerged from a 27 year civil war after decades of Portuguese colonialism, Angola is flush with natural resources, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, four glistening new soccer stadiums built by Chinese friends, and immense potential both on and off the pitch.” (Pitch Invasion)

Inequality is the price of a ‘clásico’

January 5, 2010

“When Barcelona whirled through Almería’s defence from kick-off and just missed with their first shot, you could see Almería’s players thinking: ‘Whew, only 89 minutes left.’ The match, earlier this season, was never a match. Little Almería’s annual revenues are just €21m ($31m, £19m), 5 per cent of Barcelona’s, and if they had brought any supporters along I could not see them. Almería got away lightly that night, losing only 1-0. However, the Spanish league is out of whack.” (FI – Simon Kuper)

South America to eye Africa closely

January 5, 2010

Oman Biyik
“Lots of South American eyes will be aimed at Angola this month as the African Cup of Nations gets underway. Argentina will have a chance to study Nigeria, its opening World Cup opponent, while Brazil can look at Ivory Coast, the team it will face second in the so-called ‘Group of Death.’ The other clash between the two continents in the group phase of the World Cup is Uruguay against the hosts, but here the South Americans are out of luck — South Africa didn’t qualify for Angola. But Uruguay might meet Nigeria in the second round, just as Paraguay might be up against Cameroon and Chile could find itself taking on Ivory Coast. So from the South American point of view, some important reconnaissance work will be taking place over the next few weeks. (SI – Tim Vickery)

Guardiola’s Tough Act to Follow at Barça

January 5, 2010

“The new year arrives in midseason for Europe’s soccer leagues, but the sense of renewal is none the less challenging. Put yourself into the shoes of Josep Guardiola, the coach of Barcelona. You had already warned your players that there might be a period of darkness after the team won the unprecedented six out of six competitions that it entered in 2009 — and now you are standing, ill clad in your gray suit in the constant downpour, as those cups are paraded at the Camp Nou stadium before Saturday evening’s match against Villarreal.” (NYT)

Africa’s Game

January 5, 2010

“Check out this preview for Stevan Lofgren’s documentary-in-progress on football in Africa. It looks like it will be a wonderful film, which should be ready sometime this Spring in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup.” (Soccer Politics)

Angry, disillusioned and worried for the future…my views on the Meadow Lane saga

January 5, 2010

“Afternoon all, hope you had a good Christmas and New Year. Mine was relatively quiet and stress-free. A pity the same can’t be said about Notts County, as in the fifth day of this new decade, the club has been issued with yet another winding up order.” (The Great Footballing Circus)


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