The Power of Football in Africa
Football is by far the world’s most popular sport, and is the number one sport in all 54 countries in Africa, bringing joy to hundreds of millions of people across the continent.
Many Africans have passionate support for, and an impressive knowledge of, their favourite teams in England and the other major European Leagues. And yet Africa suffers from a severe lack of adequate playing equipment and facilities that are needed at grassroots level to develop the game to its fullest potential and unearth the football talent that exists in every town and village. Africa’s star players in the top European leagues are a source of great pride and inspiration to millions of their countrymen and women.
The social and political power of football in Africa is very significant and there are many examples of this:
- Football was largely credited with ending the civil war in Ivory Coast after the national team won a crucial World Cup qualifier against Sudan in 2005.
- Rwanda uses football as a tool of reconciliation and forgiveness, arranging games between the victims’ relatives and the perpetrators of the genocide.
- The President of Liberia, George Weah, is the country’s (and possibly Africa’s) greatest ever player.
- Mohamed Salah, star of Liverpool FC, followed by hundreds of millions across the Arabic speaking world, was reportedly the de-facto runner up in the 2016 Egyptian Presidential elections, despite not even being a candidate, after about 1.5 million Egyptians spoiled their ballot papers by adding his name.