Africa, Migration and Football

Paul Darby, Nienke Van der Meij

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
108 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSport in the African World
ISBN (Print)9780815380641
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 25 May 2018


  • Football
  • Africa
  • Migration


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