Footballers Essomba and Ashu, team manager Kalla and spiritual adviser Zé are the key characters in this anthropological study of football in Cameroon, which is based on research carried out in 2003. It might seem that a well-organized club with professional executives, a team of talented players and an experienced coach would be sufficient to win a match. However, a successful team also requires a powerful African 'big man' of specific ethnic affiliation, a considerable budget for 'motivation' (bribery) and the right kind of spiritual assistance (magic). But even then internal struggles within the club and team caused by corrupt executives, coach's players and godfathers, witchcraft and sorcery, and/or other factors such as spectator violence may mean that the team still loses. The book consist of seven chapters that correspond to the days of the week. During this week, Olympique de Buea is preparing for a match on Sunday. Each chapter is devoted to one theme: 'Monday' is about the different football leagues in Cameroon; 'Tuesday' deals with expenditures, club sponsorship and the role of the African big man; 'Wednesday' discusses tribalism in the football leagues and the teams; 'Thursday' explains aspects of bribery, nepotism and corruption; 'Friday' elaborates on the spiritual forces in football, particularly witchcraft and sorcery within the clubs; 'Saturday' focuses on match preparation and the role of spiritual advisers; and 'Sunday' discusses a match between Olympique de Buea and Bamboutos de Mbouda, and considers the role of ancestors, supporters and referees during football matches. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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Year of publication: 2008
Series: African Studies Collection
Volume: 8
Arnold Pannenborg
African Studies Centre
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