By Nnamdi Madichie
It has been a long ten years ago since I first reflected upon the development of African football. In my 2009 paper entitled “Management implications of foreign players in the English Premiership League football,” I pointed out how globalisation has affected and reconfigured professional sports using the influx of foreign players into the English football league.
Just today, 6 July 2019, the holders, Cameroon were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations by Nigeria in what the BBC described as a five-goal last-16 thriller.
This is how today’s BBC commentary summarised the clash between Nigeria and Cameroon
“Goals from Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie saw Cameroon lead 2-1 at half-time after Odion Ighalo had put Nigeria ahead in Alexandria, Egypt. But two goals in three minutes swung the game back in Nigeria’s favour and set up a quarter-final with either hosts Egypt or South Africa.”
Odion Ighalo (Julius Berger, Watford and Changchun Yatai Football Club) equalised before the forward set up Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) to hit the winner. We must not, however, forget the role of maestro, Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow and Leicester FC) in the build up to the winner.
I have also talked about AFCON2010 in a paper entitled “Giving the Beautiful Game a “Pretty” Bad Name: A viewpoint on African Football,” where I outlined the massacres in Cabinda.
This year’s hosts of AFCON are an interesting case considering that while the country is clearly “African” it is also defined as part of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. This speaks to my 2013 paper entitled “Ode to a ‘Million Dollar’ Question – Does the Future of Football Lie in the Middle East?
More recently in 2016, in a special issue of Marketing Intelligence & Planning which I co-guest edited, I highlighted the need for a league rebrand. This was articulated in an article entitled “Re-branding the Nigerian Professional Football League: open play or dead ball?” where I outlined he challenges of Nigerian Professional Football League teams at the club level, with a view to aligning this with developments at the country level, and especially so in the aftermath of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
I also pointed out that “in the long history of the FIFA Football World Cup, only three African teams have ever reached the quarter finals –notably Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.”
The FIFA World rankings are bound to change as the AFCON gets into the quarter finals stages with Nigeria awaiting tonight’s winners from the clash between Egypt and South Africa currently on.