Some landmarks in the growth of football in Africa

I am doing African football something of a disservice by condensing the development of the game across a huge and culturally diverse geographical area over a period of 60 years into one post. This is intended as just an overview. However, the history of African football is, generally speaking, rather recent, particularly in terms of international competition - only South Africa and Egypt had played international football during the pre 1937 era. 
The history of football in the region which later became South Africa is covered elsewhere. It is worthy to note, however, that football was played by Europeans in the ‘Cape’ district in the pre-association days, and that organised soccer was being played by both settlers and the indigenous population by 1880.
Football was introduced into Africa via the usual sources- firstly European military/ naval or commercial visitors and later colonial institutions and schools spread the game. The  major colonising powers were  France, Belgium and Great Britain. 
The list below is not exhaustive- I have looked at various sources and identified key dates in the development of the game in across Africa. 

1870s – Zanzibar 
European employees of The Eastern Telegraph Company were playing informal football matches in Zanzibar in the 1870s. The game was adopted by the locals, who began organizing their own teams. 

1897- Oran (Algeria) 
French colonists were responsible for founding  Club des Joyeusetés d'Oran in 1894, and a football section was established in 1897.  

1890s –Cape Coast (Gold Coast / Ghana) 
 British sailors played the first football in what is now known as Ghana.

1902- Calabar (Nigeria)
Rev. James Luke, a Scotsman, introduced football at Hope Waddell Training Institution in the tradition of  muscular Christianity.

1903 - Cape Coast (Gold Coast / Ghana)
Ghana's first club,  Excelsior was founded by Mr. Briton, the Head Teacher of Philip Quaicoe Government Boys School in Cape Coast.

1904- Tunisia
French colonists founded Football Club de Tunis , later  changing its name to Racing Club.

1904 - Calabar (Nigeria)
 In June 1904 the first competitive football match in Nigeria was played between Hope Waddell Training Institution and the crew of the British gunboat HMS Thistle. The match was won by the Nigerians, 3-2. 

1905- Conakry (Guinea)

The French founded Union Sportive,  Artistique et de Tir, which included a football section.

1906 - Calabar (Nigeria)
What seems to be the first tournament held outside the Southern Cape region  was played in Calabar. The competition was called The Beverley Cup (the cup was donated by Captain Beverly, an officer of the Colonial Government). The first edition was won by the Southern Nigeria Regiment (which was, incidentally, the regiment to which Captain Beverly was attached).

1910s-Lagos (Nigeria)
 Frederick Mulford, affectionately known as  Baba Eko (our father)- a British Commercial Agent, organised matches at Lagos racecourse, initially for Europeans but later extended invitations to Nigerian teams. Mulford also coached local schoolboys at  at CMS Grammar School (Nigeria’s premier high school).

1907- Cairo (Egypt) 
The club Al Ahly (National Club) was formed. The first chairman was an Englishman, Mitchell Ince, but in 1910 the club limited their membership  exclusively to Egyptians and becme a focus for nationalists.

1911-  Belgian Congo (DRC)
Ligue de Football du Katanga was founded, but was open only to teams of Europeans.

1911-12 North Africa
FC Blidéen (of Blida in Algeria) won a tournament for teams from French colonies in North Africa.

1911- Cairo (Egypt) 
 Belgian lawyer George Marzbach formed Qasr El-Neel Club , which became the present day Zamalek Sports Club.

1912- Leopoldville (Belgian Congo/DRC)
Football played by Europeans .

1913- Brazzaville (French Equatorial Africa/ Congo)
Football played by Europeans .

1913- Morrocco
Union Sportive Marocaine is founded, but locals are not included in the membership. 

1913-Dakar (French West Africa/ Senegal)
French colonists were playing regular matches in Dakar by 1913, and the organization Union Sportive et Artistique de Dakar was founded. 

1914- Brazzaville 
A match was played between white teams representing French Equatorial Africa and  Belgian Congo.

1917- Cairo

Sultan Hussein Cup - the 1st 4 editions of this 'Egyptian' tournament were won by British military teams.

1917- Leopoldville (Belgian Congo/DRC)
 Father Raphael de la Kethulle arrived in Leopoldville. Tata Raphael, as he was known to the locals,  actively promoted Congolese football, forming clubs and associations  for Africans . He was also responsible for establishing a decent pitch on what had been swampland near a church.  In 1919 he founded the Association Royale Sportive Congolaise.
Fr, Raphael's influence on Congo football extended into the 1930s, and he was  responsible for developing  Stade Reine Astrid, completed in 1937.

First championship won by FC Castermans.

A formal association (later known as Federation de Football Association du Pool) was formed. Football in both Belgian Congo and French Equatorial Africa remained strictly racially segregated, and organized football remained the preserve of Europeans.

 Egypt play in the Antwerp Olympics. They beat Belgium 4-2 in a friendly before the Olympics. In the tournament  itself they lost 2-1 to Italy and beat Yugoslavia 4-2.

1920- Accra (Gold Coast / Ghana)
1920- North Africa
The first Championnat d'Association de Football Nord-Africain is held, featuring teams from the french colonies of Algiers, Oran, Constantine, Tunis and Morrocco.

1923-Leopoldville /Brazzaville 
Stanley Pool Championship introduced . The competition was exclusively for Europeans.

1920s –Sudan
At Atbara employees of the Sudan Railways co, introduce the game to the area.

1921-22 - Cairo
Zamalek won Prince Farouk's Cup, the 1st Egyptians only edition of the national cup competition.

1922- 23- Cairo

Zamalek (Mokhtalat) won the first Cairo league competition.

1923- French West Africa 
In what are now the nations of Mauritania, Senegal, Mali,Guinea,Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, the French Colonial Authorities introduced compulsory physical education in schools, introducing more African boys to football.

1923- Egypt joins FIFA

1924- Paris
A second Olympic outing for Egypt. They beat Hungary 3-0 and were then eliminated in a 5-0 defeat to Sweden.

Étoile du Congo founded as Club Scolaire Brazzavillois.

1926 - Zanzibar 
Zanzibar Football Association founded and the  Zanzibari Cup first contested. 

1927- Yaounde (Cameroon) 
Celebrations to mark the completion of the Douala to Yaounde railway connection included 2 racially segregated football matches played at Yaounde. Yaounde Africans defeated Douala Africans and their European counterparts shared a draw.

Federation de Football Association du Pool affiliates with the Belgian FA.

1928- Leopoldville /Brazzaville
First edition of  the Stanley Pool Cup

Egypt reach the Olympic semi finals but are thrashed 11-3 by Italy in the bronze medal match.

1929- Brazzaville
The Native Sports Federation founded. 2 years later the Federation came under the control of the colonial authorities. These authorities insisted that African players should play without boots, even though some of the more established teams had been playing in boots for a number of years. 

1930- Brazzaville
16 years after white teams from Brazzaville and Leopoldville had first met, black players repeated the feat as L' Etoile played Leopoldville's Mutuelle.

Etoile de Poto-Poto won a league competition for African teams.

1930-31- North Africa
First edition of the Coupe d'Afrique du Nord  won by Club des Joyeusetés (Oran- Algeria).

Federation Athletique Congolaise, organized by the Catholic church, broadens the opportunities for African players to participate in organized football.

1934- Naples
Africa's first World Cup participation- Egypt are beaten 4-2 by Hungary.


Umberto Caligaris

Umberto Caligaris was a full back  who played for Casale (1919-28), Juventus (1928-35) and Brescia (1935-37). He won 59 caps for Italy between 1922 and 1934. This remained the record number of caps for Italy until 1971. 
Caligaris won a bronze medal at the 1928 Olympics and was part of the Italy squad that won the Coupe Internationale européenne that concluded in 1930. He was picked for Italy's 1934 World Cup Squad but didn't play in any of the matches. 
He featured in  Juventus's run of five consecutive Serie A wins (Il Quinquennio d'oro).
Notice that his name is misspelled on the card.


Queen's Park v Druids, 1877

On October 6th 1877 Queen's Park entertained a visiting side from Wales. Although contemporary reports and Queen's Park histories suggest that this was a representative side of the best of Welsh football, it was in fact the Druids club of Ruabon (giants of early Welsh football), with a trio of guests, including Sheffield Heeley half back Jack Hunter, who would go on to represent  England 7 times. There were also 6 players in the Druids line up who would experience international football with Wales, including the captain and Welsh FA founder Llewelyn Kenrick .
Scottish internationals, of course, featured prominently for Queen's Park.
The attendance at Hampden was 6,000 and the home side won by 3-0, the goals coming from Weir, MacKinnon and Highet. 

Queen’s Park
A.R Anderson
C Quilter
C Campbell*
L Kenrick*
R.W Neill*
J Powell*
D Davidson*
E Morris
J Phillips*
J Hunter (Sheffield)*
J.B Weir*
W Williams*
J.T Richmond*
G.F Thompson*
W MacKinnon*
J Hughes *(Cambridge University)
F Tod
D Quilter
H McNeil*
W.H Davies *(Oswestry)
C. T Highet*
G.B  Ramsay



Sandy Tait

Sandy Tait began his football career in his home village, with Glenbuck Athletic. Having played in the Scottish League for Glasgow Rangers and Motherwell, full-back Tait joined Preston North End in 1894. Tait played 76 first team games for Preston in 5 seasons.
 He then moved to Tottenham Hotspur. In 8 seasons at Spurs Tait played a total of 322 first team games (207 in the Southern League, 79 in the Western League and 36 in the FA Cup).
In 1899-1900 Tottenham won the Southern League and in 1901 the FA Cup.
Tait's robust tackling earned him the nickname Terrible Tait, but he was fair- never being cautioned or dismissed in his career. 


Campeonato Sudamericano de Selecciones 1927

Played in Lima, Peru, the 1927 South American Championship of Nations featured Uruguay, Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.
In the 5th match Argentina defeated Uruguay 3-2 (Adhemar Canavesi's own goal proving to be the winner). Match 6 saw Argentina seal the championship with a 5-1 win over Peru. It was Argentina's 3rd championship.
Argentina used 15 players during the tournament:

 v Bolivia,  30.10.27
 v Uruguay, 20.11.27
 v  Peru, 27.11.27
Octavio Díaz
Octavio Díaz
Angel Bossio
Ludovico Bidoglio
Ludovico Bidoglio
Ludovico Bidoglio
Humberto Recanattini
Humberto Recanattini
Humberto Recanattini
Juan Evaristo
Juan Evaristo
Juan Evaristo
Luis Monti
Luis Monti
Luis Monti
José Fossa
Adolfo Zumelzú
Adolfo Zumelzú
Alfredo Carricaberry
Alfredo Carricaberry
Alfredo Carricaberry
Pedro Ochoa
Juan Maglio
Juan Maglio
Manuel Nolo Ferreira
Manuel Nolo Ferreira
Manuel Nolo Ferreira
Manuel Seoane
Manuel Seoane
Manuel Seoane
Segundo Luna
Segundo Luna
Raimundo Orsi

The squad featured 2 future World Cup winners- Luis Monti and Mumo Orsi- although the pair were representing Italy when they won this honour in 1934.
The goals were shared by:
Seoane- 2
Ferreira- 2
Own goals- 1


Outcasts FC

Manchester United during the dispute

Meredith pictured as Guy Fawkes

Following the demise of the AFU there was no organised body to represent the interests of the professionals until 1907.  The rather clumsily named Association of Football Players’ and Trainers’ Union (the 'of' is uneccesary?) popularly known as The Players' Union was formed on  December 2, 1907  at the Imperial Hotel, Manchester. The main figures involved were Manchester Untited's Charlie Roberts and Billy Meredith.

The The Players' Union campaigned for freedom of movement, compensation for loss of earnings through injury and opposed the ceiling on wages. 

On June 9th 1909, the FA management committee announced thet any player not cancelling their mebership of the Union by July 1st would have their registration cancelled. 
In response to this threat the teams of Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland joined en masse, as did about 150 other League players. Machester United (and their reserves) were all memebers bar 3- so the ban would have hit them particularly hard.

Peter Curran, Labour MP for Jarrow and President of the General federation of Trade Unionists gave the players his backing- they are morally right in every way, and cannot do other than win, and their demands are fair as fair can be. The Football Association is an association of capitalists and the Players' Union is a union of workmen...

Prominent in the negotiations that brought an end to the dispute was Colin Veitch, Newcastle United's egalitarian socialist and Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association between 1911 and 1918.
On August 31st  1909 the FA backed down and recognized the Union. All suspensions were lifted and the players that had been suspended had the wages owed to them paid.

The unfortunate thing is that so many players refuse to take things seriously but are content to live a kind of schoolboy life and to do just what they are told . . . instead of thinking and acting for himself and his class-  Meredith
Try to remember that union is strength, and without it you can do nothing- Roberts


Clash of Colours, 1882

When we think of the professional football clubs of the industrialized north that came to dominate the game in the 1880s, it is easy to consider them as being an entirely different entity from the southern clubs of the amateur gentlemen. There was, however, a thread that linked many of the clubs of Lancashire to the public schools from which Association football had developed in the 1860s.
Turton, probably the first Lancashire side, were founded by Old Harrovians (of which more later). The case we will look at here is that of the team that really put the cat among the pigeons by reaching the FA Cup Final in 1882, Blackburn Rovers.

1878:Notice in the picture above how there is inconsistency in the jerseys.

The 'quartered ' shirts and the Maltese Cross motif that Rovers wore in the early days pointed to their (surprising) public school origins. Founder  Arthur Constantine was an Old Salopian (Shewsbury). 

Shrewsbury School, 1912

According to Charles Francis in The History of Blackburn Rovers (1925) several of the 17 present at the  St Leger Hotel On 5th November 1875 were young fellows who had just finished their education at public schools
The stipulation in setting out the club livery was that a Maltese cross be worn on the left breast This motif was worn by both the Shrewsbury and Malvern school teams.

Malvern College

Malvern College  provided Rovers with players such as the Greenwood brothers (Thomas, Harry and Doctor) and Fred Hargreaves.

Blackburn Rovers' strip remains one of the most readily recognisable in the world of football, and was much imitated. However, when their first chance of glory came as they reached the FA Cup Final in 1882 they were denied the opportunity of wearing their famous strip.The 11th FA Cup Final was the first to necessitate a change of colours.
John Lewis recalls a letter from Alcock- there is no evidence that a coin was tossed or any lots were drawn in order to decide who changed kit- Rovers were instructed, by letter. Lewis was convinced that this was a bad omen. Rovers also requested assistance with their travelling expenses; the FA declined.

On the day Rovers wore narrow black and white  hoops in the mode of Queen's Park. Old Etonians wore harlequin shirts of light blue and white (a departure from their previous plain light blue). 


Bus Parade

The civic parade for a victorious team is now one of the great traditions in world football, dating back to Blackburn Olympic's FA Cup winning celebrations in 1883.
In the 1915-16 season Bethlehem Steel became the first team to complete a National Challenge Cup and  American Cup double.


Spain 1929

A splendid photograph from an interesting blog.
Gorgeous strip on the Spain team that famously defeated England at Madrid's Estadio Metropolitano on May 15th 1929. The great Ricardo Zamora sports his trademark cricket sweater.


Association Football by J.L Jones (1904)

I cannot find words strong enough to express my disapproval. The habit of smoking, once started, may lead to grave disasters.
Jack Jones (1904)
Jack  Jones was born in Rhuddlan but grew up on Merseyside. Early in his career he played for Bootle, but his first taste of League football came at Grimsby Town.  His talent as a cricketer took him to Sheffield United Cricket Club and he then also signed for the Sheffield United Football Club. After 3 seasons at Bramall Lane Jones moved to Tottenham Hotspur. The fact that Tottenham were then in the Southern League meant that United didn't receive a transfer fee. United were further angered as the club had secured Jones a cricket coaching position at Rugby School.
Jones enjoyed 7 years at Tottenham Hotspur, and was captain of the FA Cup winning side in 1901. An outside left, he represented Wales on 21 occasions. 
Jones' book ran to 112 pages and featured chapters entitled The Disposition Of The Field; The Forwards; Half Backs; Backs; The Goalkeeper; Heading, Dribbling, Passing, and Shooting; Training For Football; The Rules Of Association Football; The Football Association  and The Offside Rule.