A tale about the beautiful game

FOR young South Africans this book could not have come at a more opportune time.

The author makes his objectives for embarking on this project clear: to educate, document and illustrate how football has been "more than just a game" in the South African context.

For today's youth it teaches how football was instrumental in distracting our forefathers from the dreary realities of life under colonialism and later the National Party regime.

Much like Barack Obama's tenure as US president, those who lived a few decades ago would never have dared dream that this country would one day host the 19th Fifa World Cup tournament.

Joe Latakgomo weaves an intriguing tale of lies and international betrayal (read Fifa) and how South Africa played out its politics on various sporting fields over the length and breadth of the country.

In some parts, the book gets bogged down in too much detail, but the author makes up for it by painting a vivid and vibrant picture of the players' interaction and relationship with fans. He describes how some interrupted even the most important moments of their lives for the game, and discusses those who went on to make it big on the biggest soccer stages.