Dir-scr: Baff Akoto. UK. 2010. 52mins
With the football World Cup about to take over the TV screens, this thoughtful and timely documentary examines the way emerging footballers from Africa make the transition from their homeland to the lucrative big leagues in Europe.
A fascinating and provocative film.
The fact that the 2010 World Cup is being staged in South Africa makes the realities of how young African talents are often being taken advantage of makes the film even more powerful and sobering. Football Fables is receiving a series of screenings in the UK, often tied into World Cup matches featuring African teams, though its life is most likely on television.
The film uses the story and experiences of young Ghanaian footballer Francis Boadi as he heads to the UK for a series of trials with Premier League football teams, while also detailing the practicalities and often brutal realities of how wannabe players try to make the leap from small African teams to the glamour of the European leagues – which can often involve ‘agents’ and ‘managers’ trying to rip-off the young talents.
Football Fables also focuses on established African talents – such as Abedi Pele (African Footballer of the Year in 1991 and 1993) and current Inter Milan player Sulley Muntari – who discuss their experiences.
It is a fascinating and provocative film that while disturbing in some ways – especially when focussing on how young talents are take advantage of – is also inspirational in terms of the vast talent base existing in Africa and the optimism and enthusiasm of the young footballers who are reaching for their dreams.
Production company/international sales: Adinkra Productions, www.adinkramediagroup.com
Producers: Baff Akoto
Executive producer: Sally-Ann Wilson
Cinematography: Alexander Bieraugel
Editors: Jonathan Cronin, Jason de Vyea
Main cast: Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, Francis Boadi, Sulley Muntari, Ibrahim Sunday, Sellas Tetteh