Sport on TV: Out of Africa comes a Bellamy – Craig, of course, not David

Is there really nothing else going on in the world? The 'Arry and Fabio show led all the news bulletins, then you tune in for the highlights of the African Cup of Nations semi-finals (ITV4, Wednesday) and they're talking about England too. Never mind about Zambia's glorious Copper Bullets, who's going to be next in our tabloids' firing line?

Mark Pougatch admired the poise of Zambia's manager Hervé Renard, who "thinks he's a bit of a cool dude". Could he be a candidate for Capello's job? Sadly it might take the Football Association some time to get around to Zambia in the phone book. Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan...

The FA said they would prefer a homegrown boss. Adding to the surreal atmosphere, the studio guest is Efan Ekoku (20 caps for Nigeria, South London accent). He opines: "An English manager would be foolhardy not to take the job." He played under 'Arry at Bournemouth 20 years ago – but everyone in the English leagues has played for him at some stage, so at least he has a good idea about the talent available, even if some of them may be a bit long in the tooth now. Never mind Paul Scholes, what about a recall for Carlton Palmer?

The Ivory Coast team that lined up against Mali illustrated one of the difficulties with the "England job". Seven of them play in the Premier League, so there isn't a lot of room left for Englishmen to flourish. Zambia have only one player in the top flights of Europe, Emmanuel Mayuka, and he's at Young Boys in Switzerland. Perhaps none of them come to play in England because they think they might get an earful from the big, nasty centre-backs.

So while the FA and the domestic game are in typical disarray, and almost Dickensian claims of racism and fraud dominate the courts, the Zambian game is evidently in decent shape. But don't worry, our missionaries are still spreading the word and instilling our "virtues" into Africa's future – in the shape of none other than Craig Bellamy's African Dream (ITV4, Wednesday).

We're told that Craig is "publicity shy and a very private person", which must be why he made a programme to highlight his charitable work in Sierra Leone. Fortunately for him, no one seems to know who he is, even though he put some £1m into his school, modestly called the Craig Bellamy Football Academy, and his league – the Craig Bellamy League.

Bellamy's assistance is actually doing a lot of good in a war-ravaged country. The league he set up has 80 teams and 2,000 players after only a year, and the only rule is "If you don't go to school, you don't play", which has had a positive effect on truancy rates. Where once children were forced to bear arms, now they can use football as an escape from poverty. They can dream of untold riches in the English leagues and having their faces splashed all over the front page of The Sun.

In fact the lads are rather more level-headed than that. Issa Bangura says: "If I can't be a footballer, I'll be a doctor, lawyer, accountant, those kind of things." Bellamy and his staff, meanwhile, are busy letting their imagination run away with them. His chief executive, Tim Kellow, says: "We are hoping to prevent war ever happening again." That's right, fighting your battles in the court room is the way forward. Perhaps Issa can represent them.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat