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Football is Africa’s game, but performance in world competition reveals the sport as metaphor for African development is stymied by political corruption, infrastructure deficiency, and neo-colonial exploitation. The media-sport complex has perpetuated this cycle. Development journalism contrarily posits media as a force for good. Where the ideal of objectivity dominates traditional news, development journalism stresses nation-building. However, emphasizing news, development journalism overlooks the powerful role of sport in African life. Through meta-analysis, this article compares the values and practices of development journalism and of sportswriting. The article concludes that sportswriters are well positioned to act as development journalists. As mediator of football, the sportswriter can capitalize on the promise of sport to effect nation-building and development in Africa.


This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in 31 Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, 2010, at 149, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: