Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Migrations and trade of African football players : historic, geographical and cultural aspects

Poli, Raffaele

In: Afrika-Spectrum, 2006, vol. 41, no. 3, p. 393-414

Professional football clubs worldwide are recruiting an increasing number of African players. While the underlying vested interests for profit and business are important, it is on a cultural level that this phenomenon has its greatest impact. The African football player as a popular icon, ambassador and mediator, is invested with a triple role, which is often difficult for him to assume. Indeed,... More

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    Summary
    Professional football clubs worldwide are recruiting an increasing number of African players. While the underlying vested interests for profit and business are important, it is on a cultural level that this phenomenon has its greatest impact. The African football player as a popular icon, ambassador and mediator, is invested with a triple role, which is often difficult for him to assume. Indeed, of the multitude of young candidates who exile them-selves for football, only a handful of them manage to pursue a successful career. However, due to the prevailing context of media over-exposure of football, millions of young Africans dream of leaving their country by playing this sport. In many sub-Saharan African countries football is being increasingly considered as a separate career path altogether.