There is reason to party. Almost two decades of waiting for Nigeria is over. One of Africa’s most complex countries was united, even if only for a few moments. A reporter on the ground at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos said, “nothing political, nothing religious matters, only the Super Eagles.”

- Firdose Moonda, Sunday, brilliant Sunday
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But Ghana is more specific with regard to a somewhat broader mission. Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo, in a press briefing, said that the Black Stars are “not just representing the nation but Africa.” Ghana’s officials, the players themselves and in fact also those reporting about events around the World Cup attribute a
role of ambassador of Africa in the world to the team and the whole country. This expresses a sense of pan-africanism deeply felt in Ghana founded back in the years of Nkrumah’s reign. In fact, Nkrumah himself is quoted on a West African NGO’s website “Sport’s role in nation-building is multi-faceted: a victory in a major international sporting event is of national importance.”

- Andreas Mehler, Political discourse in football coverage: The cases of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
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Because of its popularity both in Africa and abroad, and because it represents one of the few forums through which Africans from impoverished and disempowered backgrounds can gain notoriety – and thus a voice in social discourse – football is an ideal spectacle for the expression of opposition to both African political corruption and the foreign imperial influence that upholds it.

- Alexander Nelson, World Cup Fever, Nationalism, and the Ambiguous Alliance of Nation-States and Transnational Corporations 
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Another contested site of national identity occurs among immigrants, who often maintain some level of ties to the country of origin while adopting the citizenship and to some degree the national identity of the host country. For many immigrants, soccer fandom is one locale where the country of origin matters more than the host country; perhaps because it is cultural rather than political nationalism, it can be maintained even when the immigrant has been politically assimilated through citizenship.

- Miriam Schacht, Imagined Communities on the Pitch: Nationalism, Soccer, and the Question of Gender
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