Footballing youth and hope of Ghana

The trials and tribulations of Africa’s footballing youth, brought to the silver screen

Born in Ghana, Michael Essien is a star of the Premier League and an idol for kids like Francis Boadi, one of the subjects of Baff Akoto’s prize-winning documentary Football Fables, which hits the British screens this month. Born in London, Baff moved to his motherland, Ghana, as a teenager: it was there he caught the football fever.

From dusty to Ghana to the glamorous green fields of Manchester Utd, the film shows the tough realities of football migration for hundreds of African youngsters who dream of following in Essien’s golden footsteps. Those realities, of course, are far from simple in a world where morally ambiguous middlemen seek profit from the willingness of youngsters and their families to do all that it takes to make it in the world of international soccer. And yet Football Fables is also a story of hope, triumph and talent.

“These days almost all Europe’s teams have an African player,” Baff reminds us; as they take to the world stage in South Africa this month, his film serves as an important reminder of just how far they have come.

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Football Fables @ ICA
12th – 27th of June (various dates), £5
ica.org.uk

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