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photo by Tim Hetherington
“Homemade football” Angola, 2002. Photo by Tim Hetherington

After 31 years of waiting, the Ethiopian national football (soccer) team has again qualified for the African Cup of Nations. The event will take place next year in South Africa from January 19th to February 10th. The Ethiopian team will play its first match on January 21st 2013 at 5:00PM local time.
Maybe this doesn’t sound like a big thing for Americans who are not much into soccer, but for Ethiopians it is a big accomplishment to be able to participate in this tournament.
caf As I mentioned some other time, Africans love soccer as much as we Latin Americans do and that sport means more than just a game.
In Ethiopia probably it is as popular as running. To play it you just only need an empty field and a ball. The ball is usually made by the same children that participate in the game with discarded materials, like plastic bags, strings, and old rags. 
Like the way many children did in Argentina. One example of that is the famous 40’s movie “Ragged Football”.
Those country fields and homemade balls are the starting point for young football players who dream to play one day in big tournaments like ACON, or the World Football Cup.
Africans have also reflected that passion in recent films, like the 2010 fiction film Africa United.
A more recent documentary, The Beautiful Game by director Victor Buhler is starting to be showcased at festivals around the world.

The Beautiful Game 

If you are in the UK, it will be screened at the Film Africa Festival in London on November 7, 2012. This film aims to show how important is football  in everyday life in Africa, since brings people together in the community.
Watch the trailer:

And good luck Ethiopian team next year at ACON!