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Africa and the World Cup: Politics, Eurocentrism and Resistance

Darby, Paul (2005) Africa and the World Cup: Politics, Eurocentrism and Resistance. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 22 (5). pp. 883-905. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1080/09523360500143745


The development of African football in the international playing arena during the last 25years has been such that several noted commentators have predicted that the name of anAfrican nation will soon be appearing on the World Cup trophy. [1] With the exceptionof Senegal’s valiant efforts in reaching the quarter-finals of the 2002 tournament, therelatively weak performances of the continent’s other representatives at the two mostrecent editions of the game’s premier international tournament would not appear to bearout this assertion. [2] The promise offered by Cameroon’s quarter-final appearance atItalia 90, Nigeria and Cameroon’s Gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic footballtournament and African successes in FIFA’s under-age competitions thus remainsunfulfilled. [3] However, the disappointment that greeted the early exits of most of theAfrican representatives in 1998 and 2002 should not conceal the fact that, in a politicalsense, both tournaments were a major victory for the African game. When one considersthat African representation at the World Cup has historically been restricted by aEurocentric bias at the heart of FIFA, the participation of five nations at both France 98and Japan/South Korea 2002 allows these tournaments to be viewed as significantmilestones for African football. Drawing on analyses of primary archival materials andother sources, this essay examines the ways in which the World Cup Finals, and morespecifically, the political debate surrounding the distribution of places for the tournamenthas come to represent one of the key arena’s in which Africa’s quest for global footballequity has manifested itself. [4] The essay concludes by assessing the extent to which thediscourse on Africa’s place at the World

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Sport
Research Institutes and Groups:Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute > Centre for Sport in Society
ID Code:18048
Deposited By: Dr Paul Darby
Deposited On:19 Apr 2011 11:10
Last Modified:12 Feb 2014 12:03

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