Africa United

africa utd

Africa United, Steve Bloomfield

I picked up this book after taking an online class in the summer of 2013, The Culture of Soccer.  One of the sessions in the class was on the 2010 World Cup, hosted by South Africa.  This book was a nice supplement to those readings, as it went beyond South Africa and gave a snapshot of a dozen other African nations.

The book is an easy read as the author guides the reader through several countries, sometimes relating events in chronological order, sometimes not, sometimes inserting anecdotes and personal tidbits, while at other times letting the events speak for themselves.  Each country is the same but different.  All have issues in terms of government, ethnic divides, and political conflict, yet each country arrived at these circumstances in different ways and has addressed issues with a multitude of solutions.

Sometimes soccer mirrors the situation in a country while in other circumstances, it offers hope to the people, with the Ivory Coast being the best example.  The soccer is in these countries also covers an entire spectrum of strength and success and financial backing.  These leagues and national teams do not have what many countries have and I want to say it’s a miracle that they compete but that seems like hyperbole.  Bloomfield relates time after time that players sacrifice so much to play the game and most times are happy just to have a chance to compete.

The book is worth reading if only to remind people like myself who complain and want more and remain unsatisfied that this is only a game and the situation could be much worse.

——

For a full list of my book reviews, please visit the Recommended Reading page. And reach out to me with your suggestions as well.

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