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Is football the new form of colonialism?

Lionel Messi
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Writes Engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi

 

An average African, just to ask him/her which team they support they are more likely to tell you they support a European football team than a local team. Football has had a significant impact on Africa, both culturally and socially. If African governments do not invest in football, there is no doubt that it will soon become a new form of colonialism.
An average African, South American, or Asian dream is to play in one of the top European teams. The time has come for African governments to invest in sports, especially football to stop the Europeanising of the African mentality of believing that only playing in Europe will transform your life. Together the African governments, corporations including multinationals, and sovereign wealth funds should be injecting into football to stop the mass exodus and mental indoctrination that Europe is the place to go for salvation.
The Middle East has realised this great opportunity in football and they are investing heavily in football to stop the European indoctrination of the future Arab footballers. Here are some key aspects of the impact of football on the continent:
Cultural Significance: Football holds immense cultural significance in Africa. It is not just a sport but a source of pride, unity, and identity for many African nations. Football has become deeply ingrained in African society, with people passionately supporting their local clubs and national teams. The sport brings communities together, fosters a sense of belonging, and serves as a platform for shared experiences and celebrations.
Talent Development: Africa has produced numerous talented football players who have achieved international recognition. Many African players have excelled in top European leagues and have become global icons in the sport. Their success has inspired aspiring young players across the continent and has opened doors to opportunities for professional careers in football.
Economic Opportunities: Football has created economic opportunities in Africa. The sport generates revenue through ticket sales, sponsorships, broadcasting rights, merchandise, and other commercial activities. Professional leagues and clubs employ players, coaches, staff, and other personnel. Additionally, football-related industries such as tourism, advertising, and hospitality benefit from the sport’s popularity, contributing to local economies.
Social Development and Education: Football has been used as a tool for social development and education in Africa. Various initiatives and programs have been established to promote positive values, health awareness, education, and social inclusion through football. These programs harness the popularity of the sport to address social issues, promote gender equality, discourage violence, and encourage teamwork and leadership skills among youth.
Diplomacy and International Relations: Football has played a role in fostering diplomacy and international relations in Africa. International competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup bring together nations, providing opportunities for cultural exchange and friendly competition. Football has the power to transcend political boundaries and create platforms for dialogue and understanding among African countries and the rest of the world.
Infrastructure Development: Hosting major football tournaments has spurred infrastructure development in African countries. When hosting events like the Africa Cup of Nations or the FIFA World Cup, countries often invest in building or upgrading stadiums, transportation networks, hotels, and other infrastructure. These developments can have long-term benefits for the host nations, contributing to tourism, urban development, and the overall quality of life
It’s important to note that while football has had positive impacts in Africa, challenges remain. Issues such as Zimbabwe’s inadequate infrastructure, limited resources, and the need for better governance and sustainability in football administration continue to be addressed to maximise the sport’s potential for positive change on the continent.
It is imperative, therefore, that Zimbabwe must invest in sport and sport tourism as it is a viable and sustainable industry that can contribute meaningfully to the economy of our country. African leaders will be ignorant to ignore what is right before their eyes. This is the right time for African governments to come together and stop this form of colonial mentality that is now engulfing our African youths. Will an African country ever win the World Cup at the current rate of football development?

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende