Sports and Media Class
Magazine 2: Sport globalization
Globalization Vs. African Best Soccer Players
Africa is a continent with 54 countries and each country has its own governance, as well as its own language and culture. When it comes to sports, Africa is commonly known for its passion for soccer more than any other sport. Soccer has been part of the African culture for centuries and everyone; young, old, men, women, and children love it and follow it, ever more than such sports as American football or baseball.
Most of the African countries have soccer national teams and domestic clubs where local players run the tournaments each season. Some of the top soccer leagues that connect African teams include the African Cup of Nations, CAF Champions League, CAF Confederations Cup, and CECAFA Championship, just to name few. According to the CAF’s website, CAF was founded in 1957 in Lisbon, Portugal by founding countries Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa. Its headquarters is based in Egypt and it has 54 member associations. This is the main league in African soccer industry and others are just small branches of it.
Although African countries have both local and national clubs, the best players typically don’t stay in the continent, instead they migrate to powerful, international leagues such as English Premiere League and mostly other Europeans soccer clubs. This leaves the African soccer league undeveloped, inexpensive, and less entertaining.
This migration of the top African players has made a huge positive change in their new homelands in Europe. English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Germany Bundesliga and Spain Laliga are primarily major leagues that attract the best African soccer players, thus transforming soccer into a global sport. They have to work much harder and show a much deeper commitment than the other teams. Most of these teams started with nothing before reaching the level they are at today. All they had was football, but they made it and they showed a different face to the world.
According to the article titled, Africa-born footballers leaving for greener pastures in Europe by CCTV-Africa, it demonstrates top players from Africa who decided to leave their motherland and migrate to Europe for a better standard of living. “ Zinedine Zidane” Zizou” who opted to represent France and not Algeria the country of his parents, to Jordon Ibe who just recently opted to represent England and not Nigeria, Africa has been robbed of massive talents over and over again.”
According to the 2014 article by Martin Jacques of The Guardians, “The European teams use their money and greatest rewards to buy these best players and obviously African players can not reject the offer.” Some of the serious issues these players encounter include racial discrimination and unbalanced wages compared to other players that are on the same level as them.
These African soccer players would have advanced the African soccer industry, but all the best players are being taken by Europeans who are attracting them with their money. For this reason, African player are more than willing to leave their countries and advance the European soccer industry. CCTV-Africa article addresses how siblings decide to play for two different national teams in order to meet their financial needs.
“ Paul Pogba, frequently tipped for midfield greatness, opted to represent France rather than Guinea, the country of his birth. His young brother, Mathias Pogba, also a footballer, however represents Guinea”.
Samuel Eto, the Cameroon captain, who has been racially abused while playing for Barcelona in Spain in his own words with the Guardian expressed his feeling on how successful tournament could have mark a turning point. “It’s never been easy and until the end of my career it won’t be easy,” Eto’s told the Guardian. “But maybe this World Cup, being the first in Africa, can change attitudes. I hope so, but I suffered a lot in Italy this year “2010”, so it’s not just one country where there is racism. But to obtain these rewards you have to go through that. And that’s why it’s incredible we’re playing in the country where my idol, Madiba [Nelson Mandela], lives.
Politics has a greater influence on African Soccer, which is one of the main reasons why African soccer has failed to advance and benefit the entire continent of Africa economically. In my own opinion, African soccer’s failure to prosper can be attributed to political interference. Without the interference of European countries, Africa would have been among world’s most successful continents. African soccer players are very talented and passionate about soccer, without the presence of European nations; the wealth that comes from soccer would have remained within African nations only. These African soccer players have chosen to chase their dreams away from home because of problems in Africa. However, the African governments should take action by finding ways to prevent Europeans from taking their wealth away from them. These players are the wealth and pride of Africa; therefore they should fight for it.