Race and Colonialism

The Process of Progress and Development

The process of progress and development started during the era of colonialism. The struggle continues today in the area of sports, particularly football, which has revolutionized the sports industry. Since the 1980s, the football has dominated the athletics landscape. During this period, Western Europe pushed for the sport's commercialization. Soccer's evolution was set in motion when European teams went one step further and turned the sport into their primary source of income by utilizing a variety of tactics. Branding of the clubs was adopted where the clubs started advertising the stadiums, the appliance of corporate logos on their uniforms as well as imposing ticket charges to the audience.

The Challenges of Commercializing Football

It is evident that football was associated with many challenges while striving to transform it into a commercial entity. The participants recorded dismal returns as a result of increased players’ wages which weighed down the club’s financial resources. It was until the 1990s when the industry seemed to be relieved of such burdens through the deregulation of television, and consequently, the advent of advanced technology that vastly improved and revolutionized the sector (Alegi 3). Globalization of football was necessitated by the adoption of innovations incorporated in the development of digital signals and advancement of technology. The technology allowed football games to be broadcasted and transmitted through multiple channels and at introduced costs. Television provided a platform for increased competition but also created a lucrative business opportunity.

The Rise of the Premier League

By 1992, football took a new face in the Premier league which had significantly gained limelight in the global scene. The Rupert Murdoch led Sky television secured a five-year contract to broadcast Premier League matches live which later attracted other leagues including Spain, Italy, France, and Germany which witnessed an exponential boom in revenues from the viewers. The commercialization of football was operational and attracted other non- profit football clubs such as FIFA and converted it to a corporation with financial goals. The increased prioritization of economic profits awoke the Confederation of African Football which took several strides which improved the sport in the continent and by 1986 the game had achieved immense popularity not only in Africa but also in other parts of the world.

Racial Discrimination and the African Players

In 1988, racial discrimination infiltrated the sport. With the immense improved of football being witnessed in Africa, players had the opportunity to showcase their skill on a global stage. As a result of this, European clubs became interested in their services but their entry in these leagues was not universally welcomed. It seemed that the interest of the African players and those of the Confederation of African Football interfered with the needs of the European game. This was evident especially in situations where the African Players were needed for national duties in the middle of the Europe club football season (Alegi 5). In response, European football association developed policies that oppressed the African players living them with the option of neglecting their national duties or reconsider the wages they were receiving from European clubs.

Racism in African Soccer and the Influence of European Football

Racism continued being an issue in football even after a South African company managed to promote African soccer through satellite television services under the DSTV brand which attracted an astonishing rate of subscription. Soccer became the most popular sport in South Africa as well as Africa as a whole as a result of DSTV being renamed to Supersport United as an intended marketing tool of African football in the whole of Africa. Another setback to the African soccer was seen to emerge as after it was perceived the African product DSTV was awarding European soccer more extended hours than African football (Alegi 6). It turns out to be ironical that DSTV company website stated that “The future of decoder purchases lies with the emerging market” and seems it was never intended for the African soccer. Of course yes, the platform relied on the game’s popularity, and European football turned out to be a dominant force in the global football scene with the high subscriptions.

The Marginalization of African Soccer

These scenarios suppressed the popularity of African football and created a big gap that unfortunately swayed away the confidence Africans had in their very own players. On the other hand, the African players were enticed by this transition to join the European leagues due to poor pay from local clubs. Due to lack of resources, the African soccer has been subjected to marginalization where there were no developments even in stadium upgrades that would have increased the chances of competing with its European counterparts. This situation thus made Africa players susceptible to the attractive offers from European clubs.

The Neglect of African Soccer and the Manipulation of Fans

According to Alegi, the onset of poverty and discrimination has led to African soccer to be neglected even by their local fans who are transformed by the imported football goodies (7). It is witnessed that African embraces European centric such as jerseys, flags, scarves, and team colors some of them being extremely expensive and not African. The domination of European football has triumphed, and the dominated are comfortably praising these virtues. The deceiving Eurocentric offers portray the manipulation of African fans loyalty for the western soccer that even turn out robbing the same from the fans. For instance, there have been recent sponsorship groups that turn out to introduce betting platform which has significantly corrupted African fans mind who some turn to suicide after losing all these bets.

The Future of African Football

It is unfortunate to the efforts of football organizations in Africa such as the Confederation of African Football intended to improve the standard of the game in the continent going to waste. For instance, CAF had made similar adjustments as those in the European National leagues to champion African football only for the spectators to be swayed away. In this regard, CAF had sold TV broadcasting rights to the highest bidder as well as signing contracts with French sports federation in an attempt to accommodate the sale of African Nations Cup TV rights although these efforts went unnoticed (Alegri 7). With the recent coverage of the African Nations Cup, a large number of foreign coaches intending to recruit promising players from Africa had a convenient venue through which they could monitor their progress and development. Unsurprisingly, the same players view this opportunity as a platform to launch their careers overseas and abandon the mother continent which they should give back for its recognition (Alegri 10).

The Role of Government Support

The progress and standards African football seem to be overtaken by the commercialization that started way back in the early 1980s. The recovery and the sustainability of football now rely on the government support in terms of funding and also political support. According to Alegi, football is all about the national pride, and thus the government needs to fully support its national pride which is evident by the South African government by hosting the 2010 World Cup (25). The move by South Africa to host World Cup represents an ambitious attempt to restore the football legacy that Africa once had, as well as showcasing its political achievements. The step is an essential transition that will accelerate the economic growth as well as the assertion of global citizenship that present African football as a world-class sport.

Works cited

Alegi, Peter. African Soccerscapes: How A Continent Changed The World's Game. Ohio, Ohio University Press, 2010.

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