"Africa United" by Steve Bloomfield
The World Cup is drawing to a close in South Africa, but long after it is done soccer will remain a fixture on streets, beaches and pitches throughout Africa.
In Africa United, journalist Steve Bloomfield travels through thirteen African countries meeting players, fans, rebel leaders and politicians to explore the role that soccer has had in shaping the continent.
This book is a wonderful balance of the story of Africa and the role soccer has had on the continent. It easily tells the history of thirteen countries and gives readers an understanding of how the countries came to be where they are today. Readers will be amazed to see just how closely the game of soccer is linked with politics. It is far from being just a game played by kids on the local pitch. Soccer has helped to not only bring countries together but to stoke conflict, prop up authoritarian regimes and even end wars.
This is a great book. Steve Bloomfield has access to many people and places of Africa that most from the West do not have. This reads as an insider's history of Africa and shows just how important soccer, and other sports, are for developing countries. It brings a fresh perspective to how significant it is that this years World Cup is the first to be held in Africa.