With Vietnam tearing through the 2018 AFF Championships we’re feeling football crazy this week! Here’s a selection of documentaries offering a different experience of the game, from three very different contexts…
Ethiopia Youth Soccer (2011)
In this short documentary, director/producer Sam Nuttmann celebrates the work of ‘Ethiopia Youth Soccer’, a charitable foundation founded by the dynamic and determined Ephrem Hagos. Born into abject poverty, Hagos’ father passed away when he was just 8 years old and within a few years he found himself living on the streets of Addis Ababa. Through an unwavering desire to do better and a insatiable love for football, he has managed not just to improve his own circumstances, but the lives of numerous young people. Ethiopia Youth Soccer is therefore a reminder to us all, that unthinkable things can be achieved with a little hard work and passion.
The Two Escobars (2010)
This compelling work by directors (and brothers) Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, explores the Columbian bid for the world cup in 1994 via the stories of two seemingly unrelated protagonists who happened to share the same name. The first is Pablo Escobar, one of the most powerful drug lords of all time, the second is Andres Escobar, well-loved footballer and the poster boy for the national team. Though the two were not related by blood, the film examines the many ways in which their fates were tied together, thereby exposing the complex web of political and criminal systems at play in the Columbian sports world at that time.
Next Goal Wins (2015)
On a lighter note, this work from directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, is an endearing portrait of the Samoan national team, as they recover from their record-breaking 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia in 2001. A decade later and the self described “underdogs” are back in action, determined to make the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup Championship. Armed with almost nothing but an infectiously upbeat spirit and unbreakable bond, things aren’t looking too positive sports-wise until legendary Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen arrives on the island and shakes things up. What follows is an uplifting, touching and hilarious narrative, forcing the team to push themselves to limits they didn’t even know existed, as Rongen does his best to keep them – and himself – motivated.
Việt Nam vô địch!