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Football is arguably the world's most popular sport. The sport is a major revenue earner in most developed due to the large amount of resources channeled towards it. Footballers in developed countries lead luxurious lives which is a deep contrast when compared to their counterparts in African countries. In African countries, football means a lot both to the players and citizens alike. This beautiful game has been used to foster peace in conflict regions and provide solace in poverty stricken areas. It is quite a shame that African football has been marred with poor politics, corruption and mismanagement of funds among other problems.
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One cannot talk about African football without having to bring in politics. The influence that politics has on African football is overwhelming, in a bad way. African football's failure to prosper can be attributed greatly to political interference. World football governing body FIFA has clashed with African governments over political interference in the sport. Most recently, FIFA lifted a ban against the Nigerian national team which was brought about by political interference. A lot of African leaders have been known to use football as their political resource. Some political leaders have also been known to preach ethnic politics through football. It is not a secret as to how ethnicity and poor politic has contributed to civil wars in Africa (Politique Africaine, 2010).
African football can not be compared to football in Europe and other developed countries. While the football industry in other continents is thriving, African football is on a rather steady decline. For the love of the game, African footballers have sacrificed a lot in terms of personal fortune in an effort to try to develop football. Mismanagement of football associations is 'killing soccer' quite literally. Cases of bribery and misuse of funds are not uncommon when it comes to African football. A perfect example of a country whose football is on the decline due to mismanagement of its national association is Kenya (Daily Nation, 2010).
With all these problems, Africa has been able to present the world with some of the best football talents in the past and presently. Larbi Ben Barek and Eusebio da Silva Ferreira are just an example of African football heroes of the past. Today, African footballers have chosen to ply their trade in developed countries because of the problems in Africa. The likes of Samuel Eto-o and Didier Drogba continue to light up the world's biggest football stages because they chose to chase their dreams away from home. Anyone would make the same choice if they were in the same shoes.
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FIFA World Cup 2010 was a breath of fresh air to African football. Most African nations hope that the confidence of federation to hold such an important event in the continent would translate into better football management in the continent. Africa was offered an opportunity to reflect on the factors that have led to its poor performance in terms of football. It remains to be seen as to whether African football will finally be liberated from the poor politics and mismanagement of funds and national associations (Politique Afrcaine, 2010).