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Saturday, May 31, 2008

African Football vs European Football: Some Reflections

Football is perhaps the only game which has world wide popularity. Not too many sports in the world are blessed with the huge number of legendary players that football has seen so far in its glorious history. Football has the unique power to find some fans almost every corner in the world. Having said that, it is also true, football is not played with similar intensity in all parts of the world. The professionalism attached to the game is not same across the world. Differences among different football playing regions are seen mostly because of the economic condition of those regions. To give you a clear view of such differences, I have selected European football and African football to find out the similarities and dissimilarities between two different continents. Here are the similarities and differences:


  1. A difference lies in the exposure of football in the two continents. European football has a worldwide fan following, while the popularity of African football is confined within the continent, both in international and club football. For example, you know that African Nations Cup 2008 was held earlier this year, but not too many football fans were interested about it. On the other hand, EURO 2008 is going to kick off from 7 June and the football fans from around the world are now eagerly waiting for this tournament.
  2. Some of the best African footballers play for different European clubs at this moment, while hardly any current star footballer from Europe play for any African clubs. It is because of money available in European football, attracting footballers from almost all parts of the world. Here, I would like to provide an example to assist my claim. All the winners of African Footballer of the Year award since its inception in 1992, played for a European club. On the other hand, no winner of European Footballer of the Year award played for any African club.
  3. When it comes to success at international level, a big difference between European football and African footballs appears. The Best ever performance by an African team in the history of FIFA World Cup is just reaching the quarter final of the tournament on two occasion, first Cameroon made it in 1990, and then Senegal reached the quarter final of 2002 world cup. On the other hand, European teams won nine world cup titles until now. The success of European football continues in FIFA Club World Cup too. No African club could reach the final of this major club football tournament so far, while European and South American clubs are dominating in the tournament.
  4. Every year, many football stars come out from European football, while not too many football stars are being produced from African football, though it is also true that African countries are creating many talents these days. However, the number is still well below than the number of footballers coming out from European football. For instance, Cameroon’s star footballer Samuel Eto'o is the only footballer from Africa to make it to the shortlist of FIFA Player of the Year award when he was placed third for the 2005 FIFA Player of the Year award.
  5. As there is public interest for European football, world media covers its major tournaments extensively, while African football tournaments are not covered widely in world media. For example, there is a huge competition among the television channels of different regions to win the broadcast right of EURO 2008 tournament and the tournament will be broadcast live in almost all parts of the world. On the other hand, African Nations Cup 2008 was not broadcast live in the countries around the world.
  6. Prize money is another point to make difference between African and European football. European football competitions offer huge amount of prize money, while African football competitions can not offer a big amount of prize money. A huge amount of money is involved in a European competition, but African competitions have less budget.


  1. One of the similarities is the format of the domestic club competition. The format widely used in European club competitions is also more or less followed by African club competitions.
  2. Likewise European football stars, the African football stars are equally popular in world football. African footballers like Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o are some of the best footballers currently playing in Europe. They are also earning a huge amount of money like their European counterparts.
  3. As the number of African stars in European club competitions is increasing, African teams are gradually adopting European style of football. That is why, African teams are now moving out of power-based football to technique-based football.
  4. Some of the African football teams like Cameroon, Nigeria are now thought to be one of the strong sides of world football alongside European teams.
  5. Alike European football, African football also has some dominant clubs who are always favorite in different club competitions in the continent, though it is true that the quality between European and African clubs are not same.

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