World Cup Music: “Afri Can”

An antidote to Shakira and Pitbull! “Afri Can” is a charity single by Replay GH, a Ghana-based group featuring Zed Ay Kay (Replay GH), Fuji, Farid, and Gustav. It brings together influence from the five African countries that have qualified for the Brazil 2014 World Cup: Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, and Ivory Coast. According to the artists, “the …

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How Africa Developed Europe

African national teams in the 2014 World Cup will rely overwhelmingly on Europe-based players. Here are the exact numbers according to the preliminary lists recently released by FIFA: Cameroon: 26 out of 28 Ivory Coast: 26 out of 28 Nigeria: 25 out of 30 Ghana: 25 out of 26 Algeria: 25 out of 30 The …

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Hofstra Soccer Conference Round-up

For as long as I can remember, soccer in the United States has been referred to as the “sport of the future.” Last week’s “Soccer as a Beautiful Game” international conference at Hofstra University buried this notion once and for all.  Hofstra history professors Stan Pugliese and Brenda Elsey did a marvelous job organizing the …

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Beyond Vuvuzelas and Samba

Listen to “Beyond Vuvuzelas and Samba: Lessons from South Africa 2010 for Brazil 2014,” a lecture I delivered at Brigham Young University’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies on March 5, 2014. The talk analyzes the political, economic, and cultural dynamics of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and its similarities to the …

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Addio Grande Joe!

Joe McGinniss had a love affair with soccer. The award-winning author and journalist died on March 10, 2014, of prostate cancer at the age of 71 (read an obituary here). I got to know Joe pretty well in the late 1990s while he was writing The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, one of the very first commercially …

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The beautiful (Zambian) game in a beautiful (Chinese) stadium

The latest Cowries and Rice podcast features Michigan State University History PhD candidate Hikabwa Decius Chipande discussing China’s stadium diplomacy in Zambia. Intriguingly, the enterprising hosts of the podcast, Winslow Robertson and Dr. Nkemjika Kalu, contacted Chipande in Lusaka after reading his “China’s Stadium Diplomacy: A Zambian Perspective” post on this blog. In the interview (listen above), …

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Goal Kolkata

Celtic-Rangers. Liverpool-Everton. Roma-Lazio. Boca-River. Fla-Flu. Kaizer Chiefs-Orlando Pirates. Mohun Bagan-East Bengal. Wait, what was that last one? Mohun Bagan vs. East Bengal is “one of the greatest, and most overlooked, football rivalries in the world,” says Kelly Candaele, director of Goal Kolkata, a documentary film set to explore the history and culture of a highly …

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Futebol Nation: The Story of Brazil

The Garrincha of futbology, David Goldblatt, admits he’s neither Brazilian nor a Brazilianist as he begins his recent public lecture at Pitzer College in California. Then, like Garrincha, he feigns left, goes right through through Brazil’s World Cup history, pivots on slavery, Lusotropicalism and GINI coefficients, does a give-and-go with Mario Filho, dribbles around Benedict …

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Football Writing Today with Jonathan Wilson

On December 5, Jonathan Wilson, journalist, author, and founding editor of The Blizzard, and the Football Scholars Forum convened for an online session devoted to independent fútbol writing in a digital age. Wilson fielded a range of questions from an international audience from five continents during a 90-minute conversation that blended English pragmatism and fútbol …

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Punk Football for the Working Class

We play therefore we are. That, in essence, is the sentiment that motivated a group of disaffected Red Devils’ fans opposed to Malcolm Glazer’s $1.5 billion takeover in 2003 of Manchester United to quit Old Trafford and form a new club: FC United of Manchester. Punk Football, a terrific and profoundly humanistic new documentary film, …

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