Social change through ‘Zanzibar Soccer Dreams’ (2016)

Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (2016)

Watching Zanzibar Soccer Dreams via the virtual 2020 Women Sports Film Festival, I suffered a little deja-vu, wondering if I had already seen this film. It turns out that this documentary, by two professors in the UK, came out only a year after New Generation Queens: A Zanzibar Soccer Story was released by a couple of young American women. I saw both films through the WSFF.

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‘The Rhino Cup’ (2019) – can football reduce poaching?

The Rhino Cup (2019)

When anti-poachers asked a village how to help, the answer was a football league.

As a child, Matt Bracken developed a love for Africa’s wildlife, which lead to his becoming a safari travel specialist. From there, he became an anti-poaching ranger for ProTrack in South Africa. Protrack has 300 rangers in Mozambique who fight rhinoceros poachers.

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‘Alive & Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa’ (2016)

Alive & Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa (2016)

In this charming documentary, community organizer and radio show presenter Beka Ntsanwisi explains how and why she started Vakhegula Vakhegula, a soccer club for grannies in the region of Limpopo, South Africa. Suffering from chronic diseases or traumas, these Vakhegula (grannies, also called gogos) found football made them healthier and lifted their focus away from pain.

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‘Streetball’ (2010) best Homeless World Cup soccer movie

Streetball (2010)

Streetball is not just another homeless world cup film, it is the best of its genre. Despite being 10 years old, this documentary is fresh, vibrant, and still relevant in its reflection of the world today. Streetball also stands out as one of the few homeless world cup (HWC) films where the soccer is as engaging as the stories of the people.

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The story you never heard about ‘The Team That Never Played’ (2010)

The Team That Never Played (2010)

If you are looking for a great idea for a soccer movie, you should buy the rights to this 10 year old documentary The Team That Never Played. Gather up the players interviewed by Writer-Director Greg Appel and fill out their stories while they can still be recalled. This is history that deserves to be retold on a bigger stage and preserved by more than word of mouth.

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‘Fintar o Destino’ (1998) is a beautiful time capsule

Fintar o Destino (1998) 
aka Dribbling Fate

Fintar o Destino is a strikingly beautiful film, but not at all in a visual sense. Filmed in standard definition, the story immerses you in Cape Verdean village life and the regrets of Mané (Carlos Germano), a frustrated 50 year old former footballer. He didn’t leave the island when he had the chance, and to defy the taunt of a friend, he uses all his savings to try and recoup his dignity.

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‘Soka Afrika’ (2011): well-meaning but misinformed

Soka Afrika (2011)

The problem of human trafficking through football, also known as football trafficking, has been covered in the media for almost 10 years. In Soka Afrika, Suridh Hassan puts together a sensitive portrayal of 2 teenage footballers trying to make a career in Europe in 2009. However, I do not recommend this documentary because it puts a good face on bad agents and furthers the myth of sports as a key way out of poverty.

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‘New Generation Queens’ (2015) – when women can’t play football

New Generation Queens: A Zanzibar Soccer Story (2015)

Megan went to Zanzibar and was looking for a pickup game. She found a women’s team called the New Generation Queens. They were getting chased off fields because Zanzibar is 99% Muslim, and women aren’t supposed to play football. But they prevail, and this pleasant little film, with an ethnographic story and a long title, generated even more questions after I viewed it.

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Football is medicine for ‘The Other Kids’ (2016)

The Other Kids (2016)

First-time Director Pablo de la Chica initially set out to make a documentary about the young Ugandan players who had a chance to visit FC Barcelona in 2007. While investigating, de la Chica found Mubiru Reagan playing soccer in a garbage dump near the Mandela National Stadium.

The landfill is heavy with the toxic smell of burned plastic, but Reagan plays joyously while wearing a Fernando Torres jersey. Reagan is only 5 years old, but his skill, confidence, and positivity make him the leading goalscorer.

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The poverty around WC 2010 is ‘Meanwhile in Mamelodi’ (2011)

Meanwhile in Mamelodi (2011)

During the month the 2010 World Cup is played in South Africa, Director Benjamin Kahlmeyer shows the life that goes on, meanwhile, in the impoverished township of Mamelodi. The township is only 16 miles from Loftus Stadium, but residents’ interaction is mostly limited to buying noisy vuvuzuelas and enjoying Bafana Bafana’s games on small black and white TVs.

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