Africa United

How Football Explains Africa

Steve Bloomfield

Africa United is the story of modern day Africa told through its football. Travelling across 13 countries, from Cairo to the Cape, Steve Bloomfield meets players and fans, politicians and rebel leaders, discovering the role that football has played in shaping the continent. He recounts how football has helped to prop up an authoritarian regime in Egypt, end a conflict in Ivory Coast, and provide a tiny ray of light in war-torn Somalia.

The influence of African football continues to spread rapidly through Europe. Today, no Premiership team is complete without a major African star – Drogba, Essien, Touré, Adebayor, and Kanu. Countless African players are now enriching English football and becoming household names.

Steve Bloomfield’s wide-ranging and incisive book investigates Africa’s love of football, its increasing global influence, the build-up to the 2010 World Cup itself and the social and political backdrop to the greatest show on earth.

First published by Canongate in 2010.


‘Unlike most books on offer to mark the World Cup, Bloomfield’s work will endure beyond next month’s final…a must for football fans with more than just a cultured left foot.’
The Independent

‘A superior travelogue in which Bloomfield, a self-declared Aston Villa fan, makes for good company.’
Belfast Telegraph   

The Guardian

‘…well-researched, insightful and sometimes shocking. Bloomfield’s love for his subject matter is evident throughout, and his prose is succinct and clear-eyed, while he does seem to have gone the extra mile in researching some rather dangerous and violent individuals and organisations…this fascinating book stands as a fine snapshot of a turbulent sport in transition on the continent.’
he Scotsman

‘A very absorbing, insightful book’.
Buzzin Football

‘A continental odyssey…It’s a brave journey – Bloomfield should never have taken that old Russian aircraft in Sierra Leone – and carries us to countries most of us will never see.’
Simon Kuper in The Financial Times

‘More than a sports book, Africa United tells how soccer keeps hope alive in across a troubled continent. It is an inspiring story of spirit, skill and doggedness in the face of hellish difficulties – in short it is the story of Africa itself.’
Tim Butcher

‘Hits the back of the net….Bloomfield’s well researched, thought-provoking book is a document of football’s importance to the people of African states, not just a throwaway guide to the teams who qualified for this year’s tournament.’

‘Spell-binding…riveting…hard-hitting and pulls no punches.’
The Sowetan

Start typing and press Enter to search