Life Discoursing Football
Let’s begin the little winding path of pictures and words with this image of global Pele:
With that image in mind, consider this: During a weekend email exchange about the globalization of Football and Pele, the editor of the South African journal Chimurenga, Ntone Edjabe, sent these words:
“For me, generally, discussions around the commercialisation of the ‘beautiful game’ have become as stale as talks on the blinging of hip hop. I think nationalism has been dead since Camus kept the goal for Algeria in the 30s, since di Stephano sold his right foot to the Franco-sponsored Real Madrid in the 50s, since the Mozambican-born Eusebio led the 1966 world cup in scoring, a tournament that had been boycotted by all African and Asian teams. We’re talking stillbirth here.
If we swing back to the nearest tv screen, however, there’s a new spin on the much publicised war of the worlds - only two contenders remain: Nike and Adidas. The pseudo third-worldism of Puma has been kicked off stage, along with Ivory Coast, Ghana, and other minnows.
The trajectory of Puma, over the last 5 years, in reconquering the world chests from the bottom (Jamaica’s olympic team, Cameroon’s football team, etc. and of course, da street soldiaz worldwide) so to speak, is an interesting take on the brand war.”
Now consider the “pseudo third-worldism of Puma”:
(The source of that image can be found here.)
The final item along the way is this email, which I received from a good friend who lives in Vancouver, BC and is a response to my recent post “Field of History”:
Charles, I don’t know if you read these words in Le Monde Diplomatique by Ignacio Ramonet before you posted about football and slavery: “The buying and selling of footballers is a perfect image for the state of the global market: the treasures of the South are consumed in the North, because only the North has the money to buy them. This market, full of traps for the unwary, generates a modern slave trade.”
The Ramonet article is over here and worth reading not only in light of what I had to say about the symbolic significance of the Ghana/USA match, but the globalization of Pele and Ntone’s comments concerning the “brand war” that presently dominates the international stage of football. It all comes together very neatly.