Scholars Discuss New Book on Fútbol in Latin America

By | February 18th, 2015 | No Comments

Futbol_BookCoverHow does football shape national narratives in Latin America? Why is the game so closely tied to masculinity and femininity? How can studying fútbol advance our understanding of Latin American history? These and other questions were part of the Football Scholars Forum recent discussion of Joshua Nadel’s Fútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America.

The author, an assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at North Carolina Central University, shared his experience of writing a book that the publisher expected to have cross-over appeal.  In addition to tackling questions from the thirteen participants online, Nadel also suggested future directions for research on Latin American fútbol.

An audio recording of the event can be downloaded here.

The next gathering of the Football Scholars Forum will be on March 26 for a paper on Zambian football by Hikabwa Chipande, a PhD candidate in African history at Michigan State University. For more information about this event, please contact Alex Galarza.

Narco-Futbol: Gunfire at Stadium in Mexico

By | August 22nd, 2011 | 2 Comments

Dramatic footage of the shooting outside Corona Stadium in Torreon, Mexico, during the Santos-Morelia match on August 20, 2011. “In Mexico, there are not too many comments in media and newspapers about the event, besides a few comments stating that everybody was and is OK,” reports Football Scholars Forum member Alejandro Gonzales. “On the radio, they are explaining more . . . they have catalogued this event as a metaphor of the current state of affairs in Mexico.”

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On an Ear Plug and a Prayer

By | May 28th, 2010 | 1 Comment



Bafana Bafana’s 2-1 win last night means they are now unbeaten in the ten games since the return of Carlos Alberto Parreira. Make no mistake. South Africa are good, and will be a formidable presence in Group A. They are far from the finished article, but there is a growing sense of belief about their game. One senses the players believe in themselves, television pundits are beginning to pump folk up suggesting even winning the World Cup is possible (I like that), and supporters I have been speaking to are now starting to believe too. Such optimism is contagious and will be at it most virulent for the opening fixture. I suspect Mexico will need more than just ear plugs and prayers when they take to the field in Johannesburg’s Soccer City.

Colombia came correct and deserved more from the game. But the home team had the rub of the green. An Ox was slaughtered on the pitch by a 70 year old warrior the day before the match. And the ref was blind. If the game had been more than a friendly, I suspect the Colombians may gone one up on local rituals and smoked the Kenyan referee. This was a game of three penalties. South African’s second penalty was given for a sweetly timed game saving interception, not a foul.

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Storms and that “Carbunkle” in the Room

By | May 28th, 2010 | No Comments



There was a storm in Cape Town last night. I now know why they call the local Rugby team, the Stormers. The lashing rain and wind forced me to have a quiet night in with the telly. I had not switched on that “carbunkle” in the room since arriving in Cape Town, but I enjoyed its companionship last night. (*As Cape Town’s Greenpoint stadium arose, residents opposed to the project commonly referred to it as that “Carbunkle”.)

Bafana Bafana versus Colombia were top of the bill, but I also managed to consume a lot of commercials (more on those later), catch up with the highlights of the previous night’s friendlies, and also got a taste of network television from the former front line states of Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. I woke up this morning to Zimbabwe ‘showing the Willow’ to India. Two Indians were ran out in quick succession. FIFA could learn a lot from the Zimbabwean technology. The run-outs were quickly adjudicated by the help of a camera. The final decision of the umpire relayed to the crowd through a cable connected to an old set of traffic lights. Cheers of delight went up with every red light.

It’s another beautfiul morning in Cape Town, but last night was a portend of what the rainy season can bring to the game. I got a feeling Cape Town is going to host a classic or two in the knock out stages. There has been a lot of talk of teams preparing for altitude. But progress through Cape Town may require a team that can cope with a storm. (Only three teams have chosen to be based at sea level on the Western Cape: Denmark, France and Japan.)

Pot Observations

By | December 2nd, 2009 | 3 Comments

TEN POT OBSERVATIONS.

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1. FIFA got the seedings right. Pot 1 seeds earned their ranking. France did not. France’s final appearance was four years ago.

2. Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have come out of the pot alignment better than most. Each of the smaller South American nations will avoid the big five African qualifiers in the 1st Round.

3. Argentina and Brazil cannot avoid the African qualifiers from Pot 3. The seeds for two potential Groups of Death have now been sown. Has FIFA put Brazil at risk for an early bath?

4. The most frightening Group of Death would be: Brazil, Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire and Portugal.

5. The dark horse of Pot 2 is Honduras.

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Can Mexico still beat the United States?

By | June 26th, 2009 | No Comments



Mexico’s Giovanni dos Santos looks good in the video, above, scoring twice in a 4-0 win over lowly Venezuela. But can Dos Santos and this teammates play like this in early August when they meet the United States again in regional World Cup qualifiers? Three teams qualify automatically and the US is currently second behind Costa Rica. Mexico is fourth behind Honduras. Though Mexico has won all their home games (they’ve been less successful on the road), their neighbors, the United States–now also gloating from beating world number one, Spain–currently has Mexico’s number. Which just makes football fan and actor Diego Luna (quoted in lad magazine, COMPLEX) depressed:

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