Development and Africapitalism in Ghanaian Soccer Academies
Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture
Neil Kodesh and James H. Sweet, Series Editors
“Entrepreneurial Goals creates a new body of evidence on the relationship between African sport and society, a field of inquiry of growing significance. The author’s numerous interviews with Ghanaian coaches, staff workers, players, parents, fans, and others shed new light on the everyday operation of soccer training centers and their wider impact.”
The idea that the African private sector will generate economic prosperity and social wealth—an objective many governments and foreign charitable organizations have failed to achieve—continues to attract attention in business and policy circles. Yet little research has actually been conducted on Africapitalist endeavors. With the immense popularity of sports and the many aspirations they foster, the successes and shortcomings of soccer academies have kicked their way into the spotlight. Entrepreneurial Goals breaks away from studies that focus on the international relations consequences of soccer ventures, which are often rebuked as extended forms of European colonialism and exploitation of local talent, and instead centers Ghanaian establishments and the opportunities they create for local development within their surrounding communities.
Itamar Dubinsky’s extensive ethnographic research offers an innovative theoretical approach by assessing three institutions—Mandela Soccer Academy, Kumasi Sports Academy, and Unistar Soccer Academy—through an Africapitalist prism. He demonstrates that these business endeavors, when viewed from the perspective of local interests, realize many of the educational, financial, and community building ambitions of the region. This pioneering examination of locally owned academies in Ghana reflects Dubinsky’s aim of illuminating the entrepreneurs and programs whose success passes to participating youth and their families, while also exposing the contradictions of for-profit development initiatives that purport to reap collective social benefits.
“A valuable contribution to the study of African football academies, their economic and educational viability, and their sustainability. Entrepreneurial Goals is also a lively narration of the friction between Africapitalism, development, and the broader economic and social realities of Ghana and Africa in general.”
—Gerard Akindes, University of Salford
“Very impressive. . . . Certainly, Entrepreneurial Goals: Development and Africapitalism in Ghanaian Soccer Academies should serve well high school and college level students, researchers and, indeed, the general reader, who is a football (or soccer) enthusiast.”
—African and Asian Studies
“The strength of the book lies in the methodological rigor. The diversity and range of soccer academies, as well as the numerous interviews and extensive observations during field trips that spanned across six years, enabled the author to observe various types of outcomes and impacts. . . . Entrepreneurial Goals provides a broader and more balanced understanding of the impact of soccer academies in Ghana, and Africa in general, than projected in literature.”
—The International Journal of the History of Sport
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1 Why Africapitalism?
2 The Emergence of Soccer Academies in Ghana
3 Becoming Africapitalists: Mandela Soccer Academy
4 Selling Soccer Dreams: Kumasi Sports Academy
5 Achieving Sustainability: Unistar Soccer Academy
Of Related Interest
LC: 2021041472 GV
192 pp. 6 x 9
10 b/w illus,. 4 maps