Economist: African Football: Playing away
Most African footballers play for foreign clubs
The Africa Cup of Nations, which takes place every two years, kicked off in Angola on January 10th. The tournament went ahead without the Togolose team, who withdrew after their bus was attacked by terrorists. Of the 345 players in the 15 squads remaining in the competition, most are employed by foreign clubs: 205 of them ply their trade outside Africa, mainly in Europe. Seven of the squads have three home-based players or fewer; two, Cameroon and Nigeria, have none at all. French clubs are the most popular destination, with 58 on their books, followed by English clubs, with 24. (Togo’s team had just two home-based players and nine from French clubs.) South Africa, host of this year’s World Cup, is the biggest African importer; its own national squad, however, failed to qualify for the event. In all, clubs from 54 countries will be represented, from Azerbaijan to China. None of the participants play in the Americas: Latin America is football-mad too—but is also a big exporter of footballers.