Feet of the Chameleon: The Story of African Football

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Portico, 2009 - History - 312 pages
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notably Arthur Wharton, the first black professional footballer in the 1890s, Hassan Hegazi, Fulham's 'Egyptian wizard' and Matateu, Eusebio's predecessor and the first great Mozambican-born Portuguese footballer. Although these breakthroughs would seem to be positive, the negative side of this tradition is also highlighted. In the modern age, hundreds of football 'academies' have sprung up throughout Africa, some of which are genuine portals to European stardom, while others prey on the dreams of young footballers. In 2006, for example, 34 teenage footballers were found crammed into a house in the Malian city of Sissako, having been enrolled into an 'academy' that had promised trials with dozens of top European clubs. The boys' families had paid thousands to the academy, lured by false promises of fame and football stardom." Publisher description.

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About the author (2009)

Ian Hawkey is a soccer journalist for the Sunday Times.

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