Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Article in Journal of Football History

My friend has launched a new online journal called the 'Journal of Football History'. In his first issue he published an interesting piece on the failure of Africa to become the third world footballing superpower. I have written a response in the latest issue out this month. I have posted the link below. To access it you need to sign-up to the site (very quick, free process). An extract from the article is below as well.

"It is approaching kick-off time between Arsenal and Manchester United in the English Premier League on a Saturday afternoon in Kampala, Uganda. Minibuses emblazoned with the names of superstars TourĂ©, Ronaldo and Ferdinand are ferrying their passengers to the nearest satellite television. Fans decked out in full counterfeit strips crowd round the smallest of screens. The ‘Old Trafford’ and ‘Highbury’ bars fill up with their respective fans, the names indicating who is welcome on the terraces of bar stools and plastic chairs. Those unable to pay entrance fees crane their necks to catch glimpses from the street. On the airwaves local radio presenters warm up their vernacular vocal cords ready to deliver their frenzied commentary to people stuck at work.

For two hours the town centre feels eerily quiet for a busy shopping day, yet the final whistle brings an explosion of activity. Young men pour onto the suburban dirt football pitches to re-enact their heroes’ exploits from that day. Playing bare foot, often with the most rudimentary of balls, the skill levels are impressively high and the games conducted at a furious pace. In short, the visiting eye would quickly credit Uganda with being as football-loving a country as you would hope to find, with levels of fanaticism and participation above and beyond that of their European counterparts...."

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