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Robert Fay

The African Cup of Nations was founded to be not only a sporting event, but also a means of promoting African sovereignty and unity. Despite religious and linguistic differences among member nations and periods of political instability, both the number and quality of competitors in the African Cup have steadily increased since its founding nearly fifty years ago. Because of their skill exhibited at the tournaments, African soccer players are now highly sought by leagues throughout the world.

The African Cup of Nations began in February 1957 when representatives from Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Africa met in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to form the governing body of African football the Confédération Africaine de Football CAF and to plan a continental international football tournament Newly independent Sudan was picked to host the first tournament in which only three teams competed Sudan Ethiopia and Egypt the ...

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Jeremy Rich

soccer player, was born Abedi Ayew on 5 September 1964 in the small town of Kibi, Eastern Region, Ghana. His family moved to the village of Oko, near Accra, the national capital when Abedi was still quite young. Along with his fourteen half- and full-siblings (including younger brother Kwame, who also played in European club football and won an Olympic Gold Medal for Ghana in 1992), he grew up in poverty in a community that had no electricity. Like so many young Ghanaians, Ayew began to play soccer when he was a small boy, running barefooted around his town and at the Dome Anglican primary school. Older players struggled to keep up with Ayew in his early days, and by the time he entered adolescence, he had developed into a very talented attacking midfielder. In 1978 Real Tamale United a soccer club in the country s northern ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

soccer goalkeeper, was born in the town of Mouandé in Sanaga-Maritime province, Cameroon on 8 October 1954. His family considered education to be Bell's highest priority as a child, but he already showed the rebellious streak that characterized his professional career. Bell spent over a year in jail when he was seventeen years old, but he was acquitted and completed his secondary education. He had begun to excel as a soccer goalkeeper by the time he reached secondary school. By 1969 he had become one of leading teenage soccer players in his country, and began his professional career with the Union de Douala football club. Thanks in no small part to Bell's play, the Union de Douala won the 1979 African Cup of Champions Clubs the leading international club competition in the continent In Cameroon his only serious rival as a top goalkeeper was Thomas Nkono who ...

Article

Eric Young

German colonizers first introduced soccer, known in Africa as football, to Cameroon around 1880, and the game quickly became popular. Over time Cameroon developed a strong network of professional teams, especially in Yaoundé and Douala. Many of these teams have won the African Champions Cup, the continental professional league championships.

The Indomitable Lions, Cameroon’s national team, have been a major force on the African soccer scene since the 1970s. In 1982 the green, red, and yellow Indomitable Lions reached soccer’s World Cup for the first time. The team went on to win the African Cup of Nations in 1984 and 1988. The Indomitable Lions’ reign peaked in 1990 when they reached the World Cup quarterfinals with passionate play and impressive individual skills They were eliminated by one of Cameroon s former colonial powers Britain In the early 1990s the national team was weakened by infighting among players ...

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

Phil Vasili

Footballer born on 8 March 1956 in London. A winger, Cunningham played for Haringey Schools and South‐East Counties Schools before joining Leyton Orient in July 1974. His delicate skills and lightning change of space soon attracted football's elite. In 1977 he signed for West Bromwich Albion, joining fellow black players Brendan Batson and Cyrille Regis. The team became known for their flamboyant and exciting football, while Cunningham, Regis, and Batson were labelled by the manager Ron Atkinson football's Three Degrees, after the US soul group.

In April 1977 Cunningham played for the England under‐21 team against Scotland, the first black footballer to do so (but not the first player of colour to wear an England shirt). He graduated to the full England team, and between May 1979 and October 1980 he won six caps During this period he was transferred to Real Madrid the giants of European ...

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

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

soccer player and the first African-born European Footballer of the Year, was born Eusébio da Silva Ferreira in the Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) suburb of Mafalala in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The son of a relatively poor family where the father was a railway mechanic, Eusébio had five brothers and one sister. He joined Sporting Club Lourenço Marques in his early teens and helped the side to a Mozambique national championship in 1960. His exceptional soccer talent was discovered at age seventeen by a visiting Brazilian coach who tipped off Béla Guttmann, the legendary Hungarian manager of the Portuguese club Benfica. Guttmann subsequently flew to Lourenço Marques and shortly thereafter brought Eusébio to Lisbon and Benfica in December 1960 Controversy between Sporting Lisbon and Benfica remains to this day about the circumstances around Eusébio s signing for Benfica and not their bitter rival Sporting the latter accuses ...

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

Colin Babb

soccer player, was born in Germiston, a suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa, on 13 March 1940. His father, Louis, was a mechanic. His mother, Caroline, was described by Johanneson as the parent who “taught the family” while his father was responsible for passing on “the ways of the street” (Harrison 2012, p. 44). In 1965 Johanneson became the first black footballer to play in an English FA (Football Association) Cup final.

Johanneson s first sporting love was running but he also developed his ball control skills by teaching himself tricks and flicks with tennis balls on the streets of Germiston He soon began to attract crowds to watch his ball control routines using his feet and other parts of his body After one of Johanneson s street exhibition sessions he was invited to play for Shamrocks a local football club This was Johanneson s first game ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

athlete and administrator, was born on 3 September 1951 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. His father was Alexander Jordaan, and his mother was Magdalene. They belonged to the colored ethnic community, which primarily consisted of people of mixed African and European descent. While the colored community was treated as a separate racial category from other Africans under the apartheid South African racist government, Jordaan still faced discrimination, such as housing segregation, as he grew up. As a student at the University of the Western Cape in the early 1970s, he joined the South African Students Association (SASO), and became deeply influenced by the cultural nationalism of SASO's Black Consciousness movement. Steve Biko, SASO's leader and a pioneer of Black Consciousness, had a profound influence on Jordaan. Jordaan chose to become a secondary school teacher, and taught at a number of schools, including Arcadia Senior Secondary School in 1979 ...

Article

Togolese soccer player, was born on 8 April 1979 in the large Togolese city of Sokodé. His affluent Muslim family claimed royal descent. In Sokodé, Touré grew up with two other future professional football players: his brother Coubadja Touré and his cousin Mam Chérif Touré. He attended Qurʾanic school as well as primary school and already was a passionate football player as a child. By the age of sixteen, he had become a major Togolese soccer prospect. His family and schoolmates were somewhat surprised by his decision to join the Étoile Filant club of Sokodé’s rival city of Lomé in 1995. Despite his young age, Touré became one of the top players on the team, praised for his goal-scoring ability. He played in Tunisia for the CA Bizertin club in the 1997–1998 season. In 1998 Touré joined the Coupe d Afrique championships with the Togolese national team He ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

soccer player, was born in Owerri, Nigeria on 1 August 1976. His parents belonged to the Igbo ethnic community, and his surname Nwankwo means “son of Nkwo's day,” as many Igbo children were traditionally named after the Igbo name of the day they were born. Kanu's father ran an automobile supply business, and Kanu's family hoped he would become an engineer. By early adolescence Kanu demonstrated a flair for scoring on the soccer field. He joined the Federal Ministry of Works local team, a local soccer club, and used some of the money to pay for his schoolbooks. Making 8,000 naira a month meant he could help support the family. He went to the Holy Ghost College secondary school. After Kanu's stint with the Federal Ministry of Works, he joined the Nigerian premier soccer league team Iwuanyanwu Nationale as a sixteen-year-old for the 1992–1993 season. In 1993 ...

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

soccer player, was born 2 February 1949 in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, the son of Jonas Bahamboula, a trader; his mother worked as a maid. After his parents separated when he was a young boy, Mbemba moved to the town of Mindouli, in the Department of Pool, where his uncle, Albert Bouaboua, raised him for a number of years. Mbemba first began to play soccer while attending primary school in Mindouli in 1956 Mbemba s dribbling and scoring skills soon drew attention and he was selected to play on the Pool provincial team while he attended secondary school Mbemba s team failed to win the youth national championship but he became a rising star in the Republic of Congo The Brazzaville professional team Patronage tried to recruit him but Mbemba refused to join He signed instead for Les Diables Noirs the Brazzaville club that ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

Cameroonian soccer star and two-time African Footballer of the Year, was born Albert Roger Miller in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 20 May 1952. His father’s work on the railroads resulted in frequent moves throughout the country, but wherever he made his home, the young Milla played football (soccer). He honed his skills (sometimes with a real ball, more often with a self-made one) on bone-hard, grassless pitches in the dry season and on sodden mud in the rainy season.

The family eventually settled in Douala, where, at the age of 15, Milla began his professional career with second-division side Eclair de Douala. An all-round athlete, he was also the Cameroon schools’ high jump champion in 1969 Although the teenage Milla weighed no more than 60 kilos and had legs like chopsticks he soon earned a reputation as a talented dribbler of the ball and as an explosive striker Hawkey ...

Article

Robert Fay

Shortly after gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria joined other newly independent African nations in international soccer tournaments. With the largest population in Africa, Nigeria was expected by many observers to become an immediate soccer power. In fact it took the Super Eagles nearly twenty years to achieve star status, but they have since maintained it.

In 1961 the Super Eagles first participated in the African Cup of Nations, but more experienced African teams easily eliminated them. By 1976, when the team finished third in the African Cup, Nigeria had gained respect in African soccer circles. By 1980 the Super Eagles had emerged as one of Africa’s perennial powers. They won the African Cup that year and again in 1994 and finished runner-up in 1988 and 1990.

Similar to its performance in the African Cup Nigeria has made a slow climb in World Cup soccer The Super Eagles ...

Article

Carmen De Michele

Nigerian soccer player known as Jay-Jay, was born in Enugu in the Nigerian Delta State Ogwashi on 14 August 1973. He became famous for his mesmerizing dribbling and spectacular goals as well as for his sometimes mercurial temper. Immediately after finishing his secondary school education, the seventeen-year-old Okocha joined the local side Enugu Rangers in 1990 but only stayed with them for seven months He quit the team even before the end of the season and moved to Germany where he had a trial run with Borussia Neunkirchen a third division German soccer club based in Saarland Soon after his arrival the teenage Okocha impressed the German fans with his audacious play Dragoslav Stepanovic the coach of a rival team Eintracht Trier noticed Okocha s talent and took the young player with him when he was appointed coach of Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga Okocha debuted for ...

Article

Pelé  

Marcos Natalí

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Tres Corações, Brazil, the son of a semiprofessional Soccer player, Pelé spent his younger years in the city of Bauru. There he occasionally attended school and performed odd jobs until, while still an adolescent, he began to play for the local youth soccer team. It was at this time that he acquired the nickname “Pelé,” by which he is now known throughout the world.

At fifteen, Pelé was transferred to Santos, a team in the much larger port city with the same name. Pelé would play for Santos for most of his career, and he would forever become associated with its white Number 10 shirt—along with the yellow shirt of the Brazilian national team.

In the eighteen years that Pelé played at Santos, the club team won numerous state and national championships in Brazil and two world club championships, in 1962 and 1963 ...