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Jeremy Rich

on 16 June 1914, the son of a boat repairer. Information about his early life is scant, but it is known that some of Ben Barek’s ancestry was from Senegal. By 1921 he had begun to play soccer with only a rudimentary ball made of fabric and sometimes played games where only he and a goalie challenged a full team from a different neighborhood. By the time he was fourteen years old, Ben Barek joined his first club, FC El Ouatane of Casablanca. His speed and scoring ability soon made him a star, even if his fame was not matched by financial riches in the hardscrabble world of Moroccan club soccer in the 1930s. He therefore found work in the gas industry to make a living when a young man. From 1930 Ben Barek was a top player for the second division side Idéal Club in Casablanca joining ...

Article

Curt Johnson

professional soccer player, later became the charismatic leader of the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA; Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) forces in eastern Angola during the Angolan Revolution. He subsequently broke with the leadership of the MPLA and led a faction opposed to MPLA President Dr. Agostinho Neto. In the Angolan Civil War, his faction was allied with Holden Roberto’s Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola (FNLA; Front for the National Liberation of Angola) and Jonas Savimbi’s União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA; National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) against Neto’s MPLA.

Daniel Júlio Chipenda, an Ovimbundu, was the son of Jesse Chipenda, a prominent Protestant clergyman and activist who died in a Portuguese prison camp in 1969 The younger Chipenda associated with Angolan dissidents in Luanda He later was a popular student athlete at Coimbra University in Portugal 1958 ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

soccer player and coach, was born in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni in the French South American colony of Guiana on 10 November 1910. Diagne's mother, Marie Odette Villain, was a native of French Guiana. She met her husband, Raoul's Senegalese-born father Blaise Diagne, while he was working there as an agent in the French customs service. The elder Diagne later became mayor of Dakar and a prominent member of the French parliament as a representative of the Quatre Communes coastal settlements of Senegal. Raoul had two brothers: the World War II hero and doctor Adolphe Diagne and Roland Diagne, a railway employee. Raoul Diagne received his secondary education at the prestigious Lycée Janson-de-Sailly in Paris and there, in 1923, he began to play soccer. Although his parents wanted Diagne to become a doctor or a lawyer, Diagne preferred sport; in 1929 Diagne was his secondary school long jump champion ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

to a father who came from France and worked in the tobacco business and a mother who was Spanish. Fontaine had six siblings (four brothers and two sisters). By primary school his interest in soccer eclipsed at times his commitment to his studies, much to the annoyance of his father who wanted Fontaine to become a doctor. He excelled at numerous sports, from basketball to track events, was a star of his secondary school soccer club, and helped AC Marrakesh win a youth championship. After passing his baccalaureate examinations, which made him a rarity among French and Moroccan professional players, he joined his first professional club, USM Casablanca in 1950, notching a prolific tally of sixty-two goals in only forty-eight appearances.

Such a strike rate saw Fontaine lured to France in 1953 to play for Olympique Nice Mario Zatelli the coach of the Nice club saw Fontaine play ...

Article

Arthur Friedenreich was born in São Paulo, Brazil to a Brazilian mother of African descent and a German immigrant father who was a merchant. Friedenreich played soccer in São Paulo for most of the twenty-six years of his career. In the 1920s the exceptional forward amazed South American and European audiences with his playing, although only a few years earlier mulattos (of African and European descent) and blacks were not allowed to play on Brazilian club teams or with Brazilian teams traveling abroad.

From 1914 to 1930 Friedenreich played twenty-one times for the Brazilian national team. No game was more important than the one against Uruguay in the final of the 1919 South American Championship Friedenreich scored the only goal of that game guaranteeing Brazil s first major international trophy and catapulting him into a position of national and international celebrity In Argentina the press nicknamed him El Tigre ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

soccer player, was born Joseph Nicolas Gaetjens in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the third of seven children of Edmond Gaetjens and Toto Gaetjens (maiden name unknown). Gaetjens was descended on his mother's side from Leonie Dejoie, the daughter of a black general in the Haitian revolution. His paternal great grandfather had come to Haiti as a trade representative for the King of Prussia. Joe Gaetjens thus grew up among Haiti's light skinned elite. Some sources give his middle name as Edouard. Little is known about his early life before he emigrated to New York City as a twenty-three-year-old in 1947 There he studied accounting at Columbia University and paid his rent and tuition by washing dishes in a Manhattan restaurant When the restaurant manager discovered that Gaetjens had played soccer for L Étoile Haïtienne in Port au Prince he arranged a trial for him with the Brookhattan team of the ...

Article

Marcos Natalí

The man who a Brazilian poet would later call an “angel with crooked legs” was born into a poor family in a rural village not far from the city of Rio de Janeiro. His given name was Manoel Francisco dos Santos. He was one of fifteen children in this family with a cafuzo (of African and Indian descent) father and a mulatto mother (of African and European descent). His nickname, Garrincha, was given to him by a sister, who likened him to the small brown bird by that name.

Despite being stricken with poliomyelitis when still a boy and having both legs bent to one side, Garrincha played for the local English factory team when young. He became known in local Soccer teams for his tremendous control of the ball and unbelievable dribbles yet city teams repeatedly turned down the seventeen year old with crooked legs Garrincha was ...

Article

George Lewis

athlete, photographer, and poet, was born Gilbert Heron in Kingstown, Jamaica. Though he was a talented photographer, particularly of sporting events, and a notable poet, publishing a collection entitled I Shall Wish Just for You as late as 1992, Heron's fame derives from neither. He remains best known as a pioneering nonwhite sportsman in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and as father to the eclectic, prolific, and hugely influential jazz musician and wordsmith Gil Scott-Heron.

Heron came to attention as an association football or soccer player for the Detroit Corinthians although he had previously turned out for the Canadian Air Force Detroit Wolverines and Chicago Sting Standing just below five feet ten inches and weighing just under 178 pounds Heron had the speed and agility that gave him the perfect characteristics for football s target man and goal scorer the center forward In the ...

Article

Nazneen Ahmed

Left‐winger for Plymouth Argyle Football Club and one of the first prominent black footballers in the English League, rumoured to have been recommended to England selectors. Leslie's football career began at his local club, Barking Football Club. He was 20 years old when he was spotted and signed by Plymouth Argyle's manager Robert Jack. In his first season at Argyle between 1921 and 1922 he played in nine games. During the 1924–5 season he became a regular player, missing only two League fixtures and scoring 40 goals. His partnership with Sam Black from 1924 onwards proved a huge success. His last match for Argyle came in 1934 after an Argyle career that spanned 400 League and FA appearances and 134 goals Leslie and Black were famous nationwide for being one of the country s finest left flanking partnerships However only one of the two left wingers was eligible ...

Article

Martin S. Shanguhyia

Kenyan religious leader and founder of Dini Ya Musambwa, an African independent church, was born in the early 1910s in western Kenya. He was renowned for his sportsmanship as a physical education instructor and a soccer player, and he represented Kenya in the Gossage Cup championship against Uganda in 1930. Masinde served as a police officer in the local tribunal court as well, but quit in 1942 following a disagreement with the head of the tribunal.

Masinde s influence and legacy in Kenya and western Kenya in particular have mainly been affected through his religious exploits within Musambwa Prior to his founding of this sect Masinde had been converted and educated by the Friends Africa Mission one of several missionary churches that became entrenched in western Kenya at the turn of the twentieth century At the age of 24 Masinde broke ranks with the mission following a threat ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

one of eight children. Sétif was the site of the brutal massacre of hundreds of Algerians by French settlers and the French army in May 1945, and Mekhloufi’s decision to support the Algerian anticolonial movement Front de la Libération Nationale (FLN) was influenced by the bloody repression of 1945 in his hometown.

After Mekhloufi finished primary school and attended secondary school, he decided to try his luck in France. The young Algerian had demonstrated his ability as a forward in soccer. A teacher had recommended that Mekhloufi try out for a professional team. He managed to impress a coach from French Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne in 1954. At first he did not play much as the team was largely made up of veterans in their thirties. However, Mekhloufi soon began to earn more playing time and in his first season, 1954–1955 he scored nine goals in sixteen ...

Article

Although a number of ancient societies practiced games that involved moving a ball to a goal, the game of soccer in its modern form arose from an agreement between British gentlemen in 1863, when the sport was effectively unified. The sport was soon exported by the British along with other products, so that in turn-of-the-century Latin America, for instance, soccer as well as a variety of industries were dominated by British companies. The introduction of soccer in different Latin American countries thus followed similar patterns, with Englishmen founding the first clubs in Argentina (Buenos Aires F.C.), Chile (Valparaíso F.C.), and Uruguay (Albion F.C.) in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Charles Miller, the man credited with introducing soccer to Brazil, was Brazilian-born, of British parents.

Although at first the practice of soccer was limited to privileged European expatriates gradually local elites joined the Europeans in the ...

Article

David Dabydeen

The first black British footballer in the Football League. Wharton was born in Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast (present‐day Ghana), to a half‐Grenadian and half‐Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother. Always a gifted sportsman, he set the first world record in 1886 for the 100‐yards dash during the Amateur Athletics Association sprint. Apart from football, he was also involved in other sports such as cricket and cycling. Wharton signed up with Preston North End in 1886 as goalkeeper after being spotted while playing for Darlington While at Preston North End he played in the FA Cup semi finals one of the high points of his career Subsequently he played professionally for various football clubs such as Rotherham Town Sheffield United Stalybridge Celtic and Ashton North End At Sheffield United he played three games for the club s first team Despite his strength as a goalkeeper he could not maintain his ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

first black soccer professional and world-record sprinter, was born in the James Town district of Accra (in present-day Ghana) on 28 October 1865. His father, the Reverend Henry Wharton, was a Methodist missionary born in Grenada of Scottish and African ancestry. His mother, Annie Florence Grant, was the daughter of a Fante royal and a Scottish trader. Arthur’s uncle, Francis Chapman Grant, was a leading business and political leader, while a cousin, George “Paa” Grant, became a prominent business leader and helped found the United Gold Coast Convention, along with Kwame Nkrumah and Edward Akuffo-Addo. Despite his relatively privileged upbringing among the Gold Coast’s mixed-race elite, Wharton’s early life was not without tragedy. Five of his eight siblings died in childhood, and his father died in 1873 shortly before Arthur s eighth birthday That same year witnessed the onset of the third Anglo Asante war which caused widespread ...