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Feet of the Chameleon Hardcover – 7 Sep 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portico (7 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906032718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906032715
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,067,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'***** Written with warmth and understanding, the book for which African football has been crying out for.' --FourFourTwo<br /><br />'The stand-out football book of 2009. Ian Hawkey chose a big continent, and a big subject but rose triumphantly to the task.' --The Independent<br /><br />'Vivid anecdotes and emotive stories trace the journey of African football from something distant and ramshackle to a producer of some of the game's most valuable players. Excellent.' --The Observer

'The stand-out football book of 2009. Ian Hawkey chose a big continent, and a big subject but rose triumphantly to the task.' --The Independent

'Vivid anecdotes and emotive stories trace the journey of African football from something distant and ramshackle to a producer of some of the game's most valuable players. Excellent.' --The Observer

About the Author

Ian Hawkey is an authority on African football - he grew up in Nigeria, and spent his teenage years in Zimbabwe and Egypt. He has been the International Football Correspondent for the Sunday Times since 2001.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By tallpete33 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book opens with a gem of an anecdote concerning a vice-president of FIFA entering a lift in the Zurich hotel where the 2010 World cup location was to be decided. Legend has it that on entering the lift, he was undecided. On leaving the lift in which he had come across a certain Mr Mandela, his vote was for South Africa. Egypt had sent Omar Sharif, Libya Colonel Gaddafi....

Hawkey certainly knows his African football and this is a big and interesting, if slightly dry read. African football is a colourful, chaotic and often wonderful thing and all is well captured by the author in here. So often caught up in the politics of each country, used by dictators for egotistical purposes there are heart warming and heart breaking stories in here. Hawkey delves deep into the subject, telling us amongst other things, why the clubs employ white European "witch-doctor" coaches. "For us, it's important the boss drives a big car" (Celestine Babayaro, once of Chelsea). A lot of names such as Drogba, Milla and Weah will be familiar, the latter still a possible president of his country, Liberia.

Hawkey uses team nick-names and animal analogies to name his chapters in keeping with the African way, but to be honest this can make navigating the book a little tricky and there is no index which reduces it's effectiveness as a definitive reference. There is a list of the African Cup of Nation winners, World Cup appearances by African teams and Footballer of the Year etc but not enough to make wannabee "Statto's" too excited. The book also switches from topic to topic and team to team quite quickly so you have to concentrate fully to keep a handle on it and this can reduce it's enjoyment

Overall, a good in-depth read for the student of African football, not the casual fan as it is very detailed, but slightly flawed IMO for the reasons above.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a great book. "Feet of the Chameleon" is a study of the growth of football on the African continent, from it's earliest post-colonial boom to the present day when the best players rapidly migrate to the Premiership, La Liga and the French First Division. Packed with interviews with people at all levels of the sport and written by a journalist who obviously has a real passion for the continent as well as the sport, the book explores several themes - such as why there are so many ex-pat coaches working in Africa, why the best players (Essien, Drogba, Adebayor, etc) are quickly snatched by Europena leagues (you will be surprised at how extensive the scouting system is on the continent), and how the sport has attempted to overcome corruption and fight for a fairer share of the FIFA pie - culminating in the forthcoming South African world cup next year. Fascinating, funny, and beautifully written, and packed with dozens of little sketches and vignettes of famous players, clubs and games - a highly recommanded read for anyone with an interest in football that extends beyond the Premiership.
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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There's a book in here somewhere, except that between them the author and the publishers have done a very effective job of smothering it. This is a great pity, because Ian Hawkey is a respected and knowledgeable authority on football (American readers please read 'soccer' passim) and he writes well. There is any amount of valuable information and insightful commentary here, Hawkey's love of the sport is patent, nostalgia specialists will find much to their heart's desire, and of course the topic is becoming - how can one put it - more, er, topical with the next World Cup scheduled to be held in South Africa in 2010.

The first glance is daunting. What you will find is 300-odd pages of smallish print and nary a photo plate from start to finish. What were they all thinking? What sort of public did they expect the book to appeal to? The nostalgia public will certainly love some of the descriptions of games of yore, but the nostalgic population crave photographic reminders. If they want to relive such-and-such a match or part of a match they are going to have a job finding the bit they want, or they are just going to have to settle down to the task of reading the book from start to finish, which is what I did. They may get some help from the chapter headings, but these are `literary' and stylish rather than plain index-headings. Also, the narrative is only very roughly chronological, so that is only an approximate guide too.

If more common sense had been shown in the presentation I might not have felt so strongly that the book is overloaded with detail, but I think I would have thought that to a certain extent even if the layout had been brilliant.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a great read this book is ranging through much of Africa's footballing history and bringing it up to date by outlining the challenges that the great European leagues have brought to domestic club football in Africa. Totally free of the well worn soccer cliches that we see and hear every day in our media this is a "proper" writer at work. I thought I knew quite a bit about how the sport had developed in Africa but this book has filled in many gaps and given me greater insight into both the social and sporting effects it has had. Occassionally I would have liked to have seen some passages developed further but it is a big topic and I understand why the author has not been able to spend more time on them.
If you are interested to learn more about the "trade routes" that have brought great African players to Europe as well as the dangers it all poses to that continent's domestic leagues, this is a fine way to understand.
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