Africa, Migration and Football

Paul Darby, Nienke Van der Meij

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

African football players have long sought out professional careers beyond their national borders in their pursuit of economic livelihoods and wider aspirations in their personal, familial and professional life trajectories. In the midst of the advance of wider neoliberal policies which have constrained economic opportunities, football has increasingly come to represent a source of hope and aspiration in the imaginaries of male African youth. This chapter identifies and accounts for the multifarious nature of the factors that impact on the decision-making and career trajectories of those who both aspire to and are able to enact transnational mobility through football. It does so by assessing the big picture, macro-level dynamics that contour the out-migration of African football labour. But it also explores more localised cultural influences that feed into the micro- and meso-level construction of football, and transnational mobility through football, as pivotal to the life projects of young African players. While our focus is on Ghana, our conclusions shed light on how football migration and the aspirations for mobility through football are formed, negotiated and navigated across West Africa.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationSport in the African World
Pages94-109
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018

Fingerprint

migration
meso level
professional career
national border
out-migration
West Africa
macro level
micro level
Ghana
livelihood
economics
career
labor
decision making

Keywords

  • Football
  • Africa
  • Migration

Cite this

Darby, P., & Van der Meij, N. (2018). Africa, Migration and Football. In Sport in the African World (pp. 94-109)
Darby, Paul ; Van der Meij, Nienke. / Africa, Migration and Football. Sport in the African World. 2018. pp. 94-109
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title = "Africa, Migration and Football",
abstract = "African football players have long sought out professional careers beyond their national borders in their pursuit of economic livelihoods and wider aspirations in their personal, familial and professional life trajectories. In the midst of the advance of wider neoliberal policies which have constrained economic opportunities, football has increasingly come to represent a source of hope and aspiration in the imaginaries of male African youth. This chapter identifies and accounts for the multifarious nature of the factors that impact on the decision-making and career trajectories of those who both aspire to and are able to enact transnational mobility through football. It does so by assessing the big picture, macro-level dynamics that contour the out-migration of African football labour. But it also explores more localised cultural influences that feed into the micro- and meso-level construction of football, and transnational mobility through football, as pivotal to the life projects of young African players. While our focus is on Ghana, our conclusions shed light on how football migration and the aspirations for mobility through football are formed, negotiated and navigated across West Africa.",
keywords = "Football, Africa, Migration",
author = "Paul Darby and {Van der Meij}, Nienke",
note = "Reference text: Achanfuo-Yeboah, D. (1993). Grounding a theory of African migration in recent data on Ghana. International Sociology, 8(2), 215-226. Ackah, C., & Medvedev, D. (2012). Internal migration in Ghana: Determinants and welfare impacts. International Journal for Social Economics, 39(10), 764-784. Adegoke, A. A. (2001). Pubertal development and traditional support systems in Africa: An overview. The African Journal of Reproductive Health, 5(1), 20-30. Adepoju, A. (1998). Linkages between internal and international migration: The African situation. International Social Science Journal, 50(157), 387-395. Adepoju, A. (2000). Issues and recent trends in international migration in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Social Sciences Journal, 52(165), 383-394. Anarfi, J., Kwankye, S., Ababio O. F., & Tiemoko, R. (2003). Migration from and to Ghana: A background paper, Working Paper C4: Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty. University of Sussex: Brighton. Arbena, J. (2003). Dimensions of international talent migration in Latin American sports. In J. Bale & J. Maguire (Eds.), The global sports arena: Athletic talent migration in an interdependent world (pp. 99-111). London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass. Armstrong, G. (2007). The global footballer and the local war-zone: George Weah and transnational networks in Liberia, West Africa. Global Networks, 7(2), 230- 247. Bale, J. (2004). Three geographies of Africa footballer migration: Patterns, problems and postcoloniality. In G. Armstrong, & R. Giulianotti (Eds.), Football in Africa: Conflict, conciliation and community (pp. 229-246). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Black, R., King, R. & Tiemoko, R. (2003). Migration, return and small enterprise development in Ghana: A route out of poverty?, Sussex Center for Migration Working Paper, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Broere, M., & Van der Drift, R. (1997). Football Africa! Oxford: Worldview Publishing. Carter, T. F. (2007). Family networks, state interventions and the experience of Cuban transnational sport migration. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 42(4), 371 389.
 Carter, T. F. (2011). In foreign fields: The politics and experiences of transnational sport migration. London: Pluto Press.
 Castles, S., & Miller, M. J. (1998). The age of migration: International population movement in the modern world. London: MacMillan Press.
 Coe, C. (2012). Growing up and going abroad: How Ghanaian children imagine transnational migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(6), 913- 931. Darby, P. (2000). The new scramble for Africa: African football labour migration to Europe. The European Sports History Review, 3(1), 217-244. Darby, P. (2002). Africa, football and FIFA: Politics, colonialism and resistance. London: Frank Cass Publishers. Darby, P. (2007). African football labour migration to Portugal: Colonial and neo- colonial resource. Soccer & Society, 8(4), 495-509. Darby, P. (2013). Moving players, traversing perspectives: Global value chains, production networks and Ghanaian football labour migration. Geoforum, 50, 43-53. Darby, P., & Solberg, E. (2010). Differing trajectories: Football development and patterns of player migration in South Africa and Ghana. Soccer & Society, 11(1- 2), 118-130. Daswani, G. (2010). Ghanaian Pentecostal prophets: Transnational travel and (im- )mobility. In G. H{\"u}melmeier & K. Krause (Eds.), Traveling spirits: Migrants, markets and mobilities. (pp. 76-82). New York: Taylor & Francis. De Brie, C. (1997). ‘L’Afrique Sous la Coupe du Football’, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2001. De Haas, H. (2007). Remittances, migration and social development: A conceptual review of the literature. (Social Policy and Development Programme Paper No. 34). United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Retrieved from: http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/pdfs/unrisd-remittances-mig-dev De Haas, H. (2010b). The internal dynamics of migration processes: A theoretical inquiry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(10), 1587-1617. De Vasconcellos Ribeiro, C. H., & Dimeo, P. (2009). The experience of migration for Brazilian football players. Sport in Society, 12(6), 725–736. Dobson, M. E. (2009). Unpacking children in migration research. Children's Geographies, 7(3), 355-360. Donnelly, P. (2008). Interpretive approaches to the sociology of sport. In J. Coakley & E. Dunning (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Studies (pp. 77-91). London: Sage. Engh, M. H., & Agergaard, S. (2013). Producing mobility through locality and visibility:Developing a transnational perspective on sports labour migration. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 50(8), 974-992. Esson, J. (2013). A body and a dream at a vital conjuncture: Ghanaian youth, uncertainty and the allure of football. Geoforum, 47, 84–92. Esson, J. (2014). Better off at home? Rethinking responses to trafficked West African footballers in Europe. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 41(3), 512-530. Faist, T. (1997). The crucial meso-level. In T. Hammar, G. Brochmann, K. Tamas & T. Faist (Eds.), International migration, immobility and development: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 187-218). Oxford: Berg. Hammar, T., & Tamas, K. (1997). Why do people go or stay? In T. Hammar, G. Brochmann, K. Tamas & T. Faist (Eds.), International migration, immobility and development: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 1-20). Oxford: Berg. Hashim, I. M. (2006). The positives and negatives of children’s independent migration: Assessing the evidence and debates (Working Paper No. T16). Retrieved from: http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/migrationglobpov/wp- t16.pdf Kalir, B. (2005). The Development of a Migratory Disposition: Explaining a “New Emigration”. International Migration, 13(4), 167-196. King, T. (2003). The European Ritual: Football in the New Europe (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003). K{\"u}nzler, D., & Poli, R. (2012). The African footballer as visual object and figure of success: Didier Drogba and social meaning. Soccer & Society, 13(2), 207-221. Lanfranchi, P., & Taylor, M. (2001). Moving with the ball: The migration of professional footballers. Oxford: Berg. Langevang, T. (2008). ‘We are managing!’ Uncertain paths to respectable adulthoods in Accra, Ghana. Geoforum, 39(6), 2039-2047. Langevang, T., & Gough, K.V. (2009). ‘Surviving through movement: The mobility of urban youth in Ghana. Social and Cultural Geography, 10(7), 741-756. Levitt, P. (1998). Social remittances: Migration driven local-level forms of cultural diffusion. International Migration Review, 32(4), 926. Levitt, P., & Lamba-Nieves, D. (2011). Social remittances revisited. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(1), 1-22. Mabogunje, A. L. (1970). Systems approach to a theory of rural-urban migration. Geographical Review, 2(1), 1-18. Massey, D., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431-466. Molnar, G., & Maguire, J. (2008). Hungarian footballers on the move: Issues of and observations on the first migratory phase. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 11(1), 74-89. Poli, R. (2005). Football players’ migration in Europe: A geo-economic approach to Africans’ mobility. In J. Magee, A. Bairner & A. Tomlinson (Eds.), The bountiful game? Football identities and finances (pp. 217-232). Oxford: Meyer & Meyer Sport. Poli, R. (2006a). Migrations and trade of African football players: Historic, geographical and cultural aspects. Afrika-Spectrum, 41(3), 393-414. Poli, R. (2006b). ‘Africans’ status in the European football players’ labour market. Soccer and Society, 7(2-3), 278-291. Poli, R. (2010b). African migrants in Asian and European football: Hopes and realities. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 13(6), 1001-1011. Porter, G., & Blaufuss, K. (2002). Children, transport and traffic in southern Ghana. Paper presented at the International workshop on children and traffic, Copenhagen. Retrieved from: http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/pdf/outputs/r75758bm9148.pdf Quartey, P. (2009). Migration in Ghana: A country profile. Geneva: International Organization for Migration. Rigg, J. (2007). Moving lives: Migration and livelihoods in the Lao PDR. Population, Space and Place, 13(3), 163-178. doi:10.1002/psp.438 Scott, C-G. (2015). African footballers in Sweden: Race, immigration, and integration in the age of globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sjanek, R. (1982). The organization of households in Adabraka: Toward a wider comparative perspective. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 24(1), 57-103. Stead, D., & Maguire, J. (2000). ‘Rite de passage’ or Passage to riches?: The motivation and objectives of Nordic/Scandinavian Players in English League Soccer. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 24(1), 36-60. Thorsen, D. (2007). ’If only I get enough money for a bicycle!’: A study of childhoods, migration and adolescent Aspirations against a backdrop of exploitation and trafficking in Burkina Faso (Working Paper No. T21). Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.176.1829. Twum-Baah, K. A. (2005). Volume and characteristics of international Ghanaian migration. In T. Manuh (Ed.), At Home in the World? International Migration and Development in Contemporary Ghana and West Africa (.. 55-77). Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers. Twum-Danso, A. (2009). Reciprocity, respect and responsibility: The 3Rs underlying parent child relationships in Ghana and the children’s rights. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 17(3), 415– 432. Ungruhe, C. (2014). ‘Natural born sportsmen’. Processes of othering and self charismatization of African professional footballers in Germany. African Diaspora, 6(2), 196 217. Van der Meij, N. (2015). Family matters in African football migration: An analysis of the role of family, agency and football academies in the mobility of Ghanaian football players. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Ulster University, UK. Van der Meij, N. & Darby, P. (2014). ‘Noone would burden the sea and then never get any benefit: family involvement in players’ migration to football academies in Ghana’. In Harris, J. and Elliot, R. (Eds.) Football and Migration. (pp. 159-179). Oxon: Routledge. Van der Meij, N., Darby, P. & Liston, K. (2015) ‘The downfall of a man is not the end of his life’: The intergenerational contract, shame and ‘sacked’ football academy players in Ghana.' Presented at 12th Congress of the European Association for the Sociology of Sport, Dublin. Whitehead, A., Hashim, I. M., & Iversen, V. (2007). Child Migration, Child Agency and Inter-Generational Relations in Africa and South Asia (Working Paper No. T24). Retrieved from: http://www.migrationdrc.org/publications/working_papers/WP-T24.pdf",
year = "2018",
month = "5",
day = "25",
language = "English",
isbn = "9780815380641",
pages = "94--109",
booktitle = "Sport in the African World",

}

Darby, P & Van der Meij, N 2018, Africa, Migration and Football. in Sport in the African World. pp. 94-109.

Africa, Migration and Football. / Darby, Paul; Van der Meij, Nienke.

Sport in the African World. 2018. p. 94-109.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - Africa, Migration and Football

AU - Darby, Paul

AU - Van der Meij, Nienke

N1 - Reference text: Achanfuo-Yeboah, D. (1993). Grounding a theory of African migration in recent data on Ghana. International Sociology, 8(2), 215-226. Ackah, C., & Medvedev, D. (2012). Internal migration in Ghana: Determinants and welfare impacts. International Journal for Social Economics, 39(10), 764-784. Adegoke, A. A. (2001). Pubertal development and traditional support systems in Africa: An overview. The African Journal of Reproductive Health, 5(1), 20-30. Adepoju, A. (1998). Linkages between internal and international migration: The African situation. International Social Science Journal, 50(157), 387-395. Adepoju, A. (2000). Issues and recent trends in international migration in Sub-Saharan Africa. International Social Sciences Journal, 52(165), 383-394. Anarfi, J., Kwankye, S., Ababio O. F., & Tiemoko, R. (2003). Migration from and to Ghana: A background paper, Working Paper C4: Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty. University of Sussex: Brighton. Arbena, J. (2003). Dimensions of international talent migration in Latin American sports. In J. Bale & J. Maguire (Eds.), The global sports arena: Athletic talent migration in an interdependent world (pp. 99-111). London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass. Armstrong, G. (2007). The global footballer and the local war-zone: George Weah and transnational networks in Liberia, West Africa. Global Networks, 7(2), 230- 247. Bale, J. (2004). Three geographies of Africa footballer migration: Patterns, problems and postcoloniality. In G. Armstrong, & R. Giulianotti (Eds.), Football in Africa: Conflict, conciliation and community (pp. 229-246). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Black, R., King, R. & Tiemoko, R. (2003). Migration, return and small enterprise development in Ghana: A route out of poverty?, Sussex Center for Migration Working Paper, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Broere, M., & Van der Drift, R. (1997). Football Africa! Oxford: Worldview Publishing. Carter, T. F. (2007). Family networks, state interventions and the experience of Cuban transnational sport migration. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 42(4), 371 389.
 Carter, T. F. (2011). In foreign fields: The politics and experiences of transnational sport migration. London: Pluto Press.
 Castles, S., & Miller, M. J. (1998). The age of migration: International population movement in the modern world. London: MacMillan Press.
 Coe, C. (2012). Growing up and going abroad: How Ghanaian children imagine transnational migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(6), 913- 931. Darby, P. (2000). The new scramble for Africa: African football labour migration to Europe. The European Sports History Review, 3(1), 217-244. Darby, P. (2002). Africa, football and FIFA: Politics, colonialism and resistance. London: Frank Cass Publishers. Darby, P. (2007). African football labour migration to Portugal: Colonial and neo- colonial resource. Soccer & Society, 8(4), 495-509. Darby, P. (2013). Moving players, traversing perspectives: Global value chains, production networks and Ghanaian football labour migration. Geoforum, 50, 43-53. Darby, P., & Solberg, E. (2010). Differing trajectories: Football development and patterns of player migration in South Africa and Ghana. Soccer & Society, 11(1- 2), 118-130. Daswani, G. (2010). Ghanaian Pentecostal prophets: Transnational travel and (im- )mobility. In G. Hümelmeier & K. Krause (Eds.), Traveling spirits: Migrants, markets and mobilities. (pp. 76-82). New York: Taylor & Francis. De Brie, C. (1997). ‘L’Afrique Sous la Coupe du Football’, Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2001. De Haas, H. (2007). Remittances, migration and social development: A conceptual review of the literature. (Social Policy and Development Programme Paper No. 34). United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Retrieved from: http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/pdfs/unrisd-remittances-mig-dev De Haas, H. (2010b). The internal dynamics of migration processes: A theoretical inquiry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(10), 1587-1617. De Vasconcellos Ribeiro, C. H., & Dimeo, P. (2009). The experience of migration for Brazilian football players. Sport in Society, 12(6), 725–736. Dobson, M. E. (2009). Unpacking children in migration research. Children's Geographies, 7(3), 355-360. Donnelly, P. (2008). Interpretive approaches to the sociology of sport. In J. Coakley & E. Dunning (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Studies (pp. 77-91). London: Sage. Engh, M. H., & Agergaard, S. (2013). Producing mobility through locality and visibility:Developing a transnational perspective on sports labour migration. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 50(8), 974-992. Esson, J. (2013). A body and a dream at a vital conjuncture: Ghanaian youth, uncertainty and the allure of football. Geoforum, 47, 84–92. Esson, J. (2014). Better off at home? Rethinking responses to trafficked West African footballers in Europe. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 41(3), 512-530. Faist, T. (1997). The crucial meso-level. In T. Hammar, G. Brochmann, K. Tamas & T. Faist (Eds.), International migration, immobility and development: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 187-218). Oxford: Berg. Hammar, T., & Tamas, K. (1997). Why do people go or stay? In T. Hammar, G. Brochmann, K. Tamas & T. Faist (Eds.), International migration, immobility and development: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 1-20). Oxford: Berg. Hashim, I. M. (2006). The positives and negatives of children’s independent migration: Assessing the evidence and debates (Working Paper No. T16). Retrieved from: http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/migrationglobpov/wp- t16.pdf Kalir, B. (2005). The Development of a Migratory Disposition: Explaining a “New Emigration”. International Migration, 13(4), 167-196. King, T. (2003). The European Ritual: Football in the New Europe (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003). Künzler, D., & Poli, R. (2012). The African footballer as visual object and figure of success: Didier Drogba and social meaning. Soccer & Society, 13(2), 207-221. Lanfranchi, P., & Taylor, M. (2001). Moving with the ball: The migration of professional footballers. Oxford: Berg. Langevang, T. (2008). ‘We are managing!’ Uncertain paths to respectable adulthoods in Accra, Ghana. Geoforum, 39(6), 2039-2047. Langevang, T., & Gough, K.V. (2009). ‘Surviving through movement: The mobility of urban youth in Ghana. Social and Cultural Geography, 10(7), 741-756. Levitt, P. (1998). Social remittances: Migration driven local-level forms of cultural diffusion. International Migration Review, 32(4), 926. Levitt, P., & Lamba-Nieves, D. (2011). Social remittances revisited. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(1), 1-22. Mabogunje, A. L. (1970). Systems approach to a theory of rural-urban migration. Geographical Review, 2(1), 1-18. Massey, D., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431-466. Molnar, G., & Maguire, J. (2008). Hungarian footballers on the move: Issues of and observations on the first migratory phase. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 11(1), 74-89. Poli, R. (2005). Football players’ migration in Europe: A geo-economic approach to Africans’ mobility. In J. Magee, A. Bairner & A. Tomlinson (Eds.), The bountiful game? Football identities and finances (pp. 217-232). Oxford: Meyer & Meyer Sport. Poli, R. (2006a). Migrations and trade of African football players: Historic, geographical and cultural aspects. Afrika-Spectrum, 41(3), 393-414. Poli, R. (2006b). ‘Africans’ status in the European football players’ labour market. Soccer and Society, 7(2-3), 278-291. Poli, R. (2010b). African migrants in Asian and European football: Hopes and realities. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 13(6), 1001-1011. Porter, G., & Blaufuss, K. (2002). Children, transport and traffic in southern Ghana. Paper presented at the International workshop on children and traffic, Copenhagen. Retrieved from: http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/pdf/outputs/r75758bm9148.pdf Quartey, P. (2009). Migration in Ghana: A country profile. Geneva: International Organization for Migration. Rigg, J. (2007). Moving lives: Migration and livelihoods in the Lao PDR. Population, Space and Place, 13(3), 163-178. doi:10.1002/psp.438 Scott, C-G. (2015). African footballers in Sweden: Race, immigration, and integration in the age of globalization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sjanek, R. (1982). The organization of households in Adabraka: Toward a wider comparative perspective. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 24(1), 57-103. Stead, D., & Maguire, J. (2000). ‘Rite de passage’ or Passage to riches?: The motivation and objectives of Nordic/Scandinavian Players in English League Soccer. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 24(1), 36-60. Thorsen, D. (2007). ’If only I get enough money for a bicycle!’: A study of childhoods, migration and adolescent Aspirations against a backdrop of exploitation and trafficking in Burkina Faso (Working Paper No. T21). Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.176.1829. Twum-Baah, K. A. (2005). Volume and characteristics of international Ghanaian migration. In T. Manuh (Ed.), At Home in the World? International Migration and Development in Contemporary Ghana and West Africa (.. 55-77). Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers. Twum-Danso, A. (2009). Reciprocity, respect and responsibility: The 3Rs underlying parent child relationships in Ghana and the children’s rights. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 17(3), 415– 432. Ungruhe, C. (2014). ‘Natural born sportsmen’. Processes of othering and self charismatization of African professional footballers in Germany. African Diaspora, 6(2), 196 217. Van der Meij, N. (2015). Family matters in African football migration: An analysis of the role of family, agency and football academies in the mobility of Ghanaian football players. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Ulster University, UK. Van der Meij, N. & Darby, P. (2014). ‘Noone would burden the sea and then never get any benefit: family involvement in players’ migration to football academies in Ghana’. In Harris, J. and Elliot, R. (Eds.) Football and Migration. (pp. 159-179). Oxon: Routledge. Van der Meij, N., Darby, P. & Liston, K. (2015) ‘The downfall of a man is not the end of his life’: The intergenerational contract, shame and ‘sacked’ football academy players in Ghana.' Presented at 12th Congress of the European Association for the Sociology of Sport, Dublin. Whitehead, A., Hashim, I. M., & Iversen, V. (2007). Child Migration, Child Agency and Inter-Generational Relations in Africa and South Asia (Working Paper No. T24). Retrieved from: http://www.migrationdrc.org/publications/working_papers/WP-T24.pdf

PY - 2018/5/25

Y1 - 2018/5/25

N2 - African football players have long sought out professional careers beyond their national borders in their pursuit of economic livelihoods and wider aspirations in their personal, familial and professional life trajectories. In the midst of the advance of wider neoliberal policies which have constrained economic opportunities, football has increasingly come to represent a source of hope and aspiration in the imaginaries of male African youth. This chapter identifies and accounts for the multifarious nature of the factors that impact on the decision-making and career trajectories of those who both aspire to and are able to enact transnational mobility through football. It does so by assessing the big picture, macro-level dynamics that contour the out-migration of African football labour. But it also explores more localised cultural influences that feed into the micro- and meso-level construction of football, and transnational mobility through football, as pivotal to the life projects of young African players. While our focus is on Ghana, our conclusions shed light on how football migration and the aspirations for mobility through football are formed, negotiated and navigated across West Africa.

AB - African football players have long sought out professional careers beyond their national borders in their pursuit of economic livelihoods and wider aspirations in their personal, familial and professional life trajectories. In the midst of the advance of wider neoliberal policies which have constrained economic opportunities, football has increasingly come to represent a source of hope and aspiration in the imaginaries of male African youth. This chapter identifies and accounts for the multifarious nature of the factors that impact on the decision-making and career trajectories of those who both aspire to and are able to enact transnational mobility through football. It does so by assessing the big picture, macro-level dynamics that contour the out-migration of African football labour. But it also explores more localised cultural influences that feed into the micro- and meso-level construction of football, and transnational mobility through football, as pivotal to the life projects of young African players. While our focus is on Ghana, our conclusions shed light on how football migration and the aspirations for mobility through football are formed, negotiated and navigated across West Africa.

KW - Football

KW - Africa

KW - Migration

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9780815380641

SP - 94

EP - 109

BT - Sport in the African World

ER -

Darby P, Van der Meij N. Africa, Migration and Football. In Sport in the African World. 2018. p. 94-109