Differing Trajectories: Football Development and Patterns of Player Migration in South Africa and Ghana

Paul Darby, Eirik Solberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


This article employs a comparative approach to the dynamics underpinning the transnational migration of African football players. More specifically, it assesses the extent to which divergent levels of professionalism and football development across the game in South Africa and Ghana shape and contour patterns of player mobility. This analysis, rooted in ethnographic research in both locales, reveals that significant economic divergences between the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in South Africa and the Ghanaian Premier League produce dramatically different patterns of inward and outward football migration. These patterns reveal that while Ghana’s most talented players typically seek careers outside of the country, the PSL is not only able to retain highly skilled South African football labour but also represents an attractive destination for footballers from elsewhere in the continent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-130
JournalSoccer and Society
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010



  • African football: South Africa
  • Ghana
  • Football Labour Migration
  • Sports labour migration

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