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0. The Shot needs your help
1. The history: How The Shot got into African coverage 
2. The presence: African Football on the Web
3. The future: The Shot has big plans - but will they be possible?
4. concrete: what next? how can I help?

Summary first - what's this document about:
0. The Shot needs your help
At the moment The Shot is stuck somewhere between being forced to give up and growing into a bigger development project for Africans.
1. The history/background: How The Shot got into African coverage 
It all started from Europe...
2. The presence: African Football on the Web
The structures for African club football are as destructive as they are for African internet projects. Are they given any chance or do they just have to provide resources to Europeans who's products(/clubs) then making the turnover?
3. The future: The Shot has big plans - but will they be possible?
Can there be projects which develop structures for Africans which will get them a foot into the web door? (Africans only looking into the window)
4. concrete: what next? how can I help?
The Shot will start a handful of little attempts to make it attractive for you to contribute.

0:The Shot needs your help
The Shot is somewhere between the prospects of being forced to give up its coverages and becoming a greater enterprise to develop structures for African football (and coverage) on the world wide web with exciting new projects for Africans to take over and run themselves.
At the very moment The Shot is an indivudal effort with a lot of energy input but no income and as financial resources have become exhausted some maybe valuable ideas are threatened to remain mirages.
So it will depend on your and third parties feedback and contributions whether something bigger for Africa will come into being or those ideas will starve as so many projects with good intentions.

I call those projects butterflies in a reminder how vulnurable personal efforts are and, an allegorical klischee of a chaos theory scenario in the same time, in which a rare butterfly triggers an earthquake. The chance is there to create something special but I cannot do it alone.

The help needed is on all levels: financial contribution, content contribution, logistical help. 

What The Shot Africa is about, where it comes from, and about some plans you can read in the follwowing. It is a bit longer article, so best print it out as it is very long for reading at a screen.

1. The history: How The Shot got into coverage 
OriginallyThe Shot That Passed Right Through The Net, which I run from Germany under some kind of artist name 'theshot' and which has been already online since about 1995 (I can't even recall exactly) was thought as some (non-journalistic) background source, casting views on football that weren't available anywhere else.
It was rather sketched to function as a display for some innovation consulting service, not only for football. A service to help costumers find unusual new solutions, football examples would be reorganisation of leagues or a rule change to decrease the number of penalty shoot-outs deciding important tournaments, etc.

But it developed differently: One pattern had been starting prototype projects to fill existing voids. Like the 'Bundesliga FAQ' (Bundesliga is the first division in Germany) at a time when there was no available English speaking source on German football on the entire web. Later I asked support from or integration into official associations for that, because German football is rich and should invest something in their display to the world.
But they did not even answer so I meanwhile I have concentrated rather on the African coverage, where the response has been overwhelming.

Initially it was a mathematical work I did on how Africa was put at disatvantage about World Cup places in the 1980's that brought me to the African game. 
Then I realised that the European ignorance (in Germany much more than in France where it is much better) of Africa is not rooted in meanness but is because Africa is not present in media, in infomations, in minds. (apart from catstrophes, wars etc)
At the time I began, Africa was not present on the Internet, it just did not exist.
(Of course there is still a huge difference nowadays between the presence and staus of Egypt and Burundi, for instance).

But people who do not know about they do not care about. So most German fans love African players who play here, but do not know anything about Africa.

At the African Cup Of Nations 1998 I decided to make an extensive coverage, because in European media the tournament disappeared completely behind the parallel Olympic Winter games. Suddenly it turned out to be the case that many people located around the world were happy about this unique source and so I decided to continue coverages as long as it is possible for me and as long as there is no other source comparable.
Of course this goes beyond the original idea to introduce the African game to European fans.

(So I hope you will excuse my unperfect language as I am not an educated journalist or native English speaker...)

2. The presence: African Football and the Web
The structures between European and African football are partly horrible and will keep African football, especially club football, deprived of realistic perspectives. 

Example Nigeria: the best players go to clubs all over Europe, even minor important leagues in the East, even second, third, fourth, fifth division in Germany. They leave Nigerian clubs with a low quality of the game. The transfers generate mediocre sums for Nigerian football but a lot of money for slave traders or even serious agents.

Of course the African fans want to see their stars on TV so the African TV stations and sponsors will not invest into the Nigerian game but into TV rights from the European leagues. The fans there will not buy shirts from their home clubs, they want Arsenal/Kanu, PSG/Okocha etc.. The consequence: there is even a cash flow into the European/American direction. 

These structures leave the clubs without chance because the gap increases each day. Their perspective rather seems to be becoming farms developing robots and artists for the European arenas and TV shows. 
The domestic clubs can only compete in African competitions so they even cannot make any against the odds impact on the grass. There is no promotion possible into the European money league. 
One has to thank FIFA here for energetically establishing the FIFA club world championship which has cut a little hole into this wall. 
(Unfortunately I have to correct the document here, this competition has been cancelled over the ISL crisis (marketing partners of FIFA which have gone bankrupt) and one reason FIFA President Blatter has given in an interview a part of the blame to UEFA, the European Association which he accused of having acted 'contraproductive' concerning the tournament (Kicker June 21)).

In parallel, similar things happen on the internet: look for example at domain names. Check on .com domain names involving terms like Africanfootball etc. or state names like libya (.com, .net, .org)
19 of 20 such domain names are grabbed and not used. Because they have been reserved by speculants from outside Africa (Europe, USA, even Australia) at a time when most Africans would not even have access to such a reservation.
Again Africans would have to pay high sums to get access to them and again the cashflow would be in the other direction. How can you start to build something in such structures?

Another point I like to mention is what I call 'the BBC site dilemma'. 
The BBC has started a very good African Football coverage. 
On one hand this is great, because it helps the African game to become noticed. 
On the other hand it is a problem because it suffocates all those original African attempts to establish an own coverage. The BBC has all that background money the others do not have and they will surely draw readers away from their pages.
In someway they are the media counterpart to a big European football-club. The big African players (here journalists) are on their list.

Why is this problematic? Look at the difference to Allafrica.com
Allafrica.com is a window to various African sources and opinions while the BBC site is a monopolisation of news. The BBC site does not even have one single link to any extern source on that page.
With the financial power behind that BBC effort and the quality of the service the danger is huge that fans switch from a multiple source like allafrica.com to a monopol source like BBC.
A further danger lies in the fact that there is a very small number of journalists contributing to various sources. The very same journalist is a main correspondent for Reuters/dailysoccer, BBC, African Soccer, German football magazine Kicker, and I don't know whomelse.
Media is the eyes and ears of the fan or the citizen. If one or two journalists determine what kind of associations the fan (or the citizen) makes, it becomes dangerous. 

This has absolutely nothing to do with the great quality of the journalist behind it. The same concern woul apply to The Shot being the only source for something. I have studied linguistics and I can assure you, there is no such thing as an entirely 'neutral' or 'objective' report possible. And the impression of truth which enfolds by having the same sight repeated by various media (although going back to the same source) has a huge impact.

The development is also a threat to African football's most prominent, most important, and most valuable source, the printed 'African Soccer' magazine. It is making me sad to read that the publication suffers from a lack of sponsoring investors, too.

Now you see - it is a real dilemma because the simple idea to ask the BBC to stop their service would be a blow to African football as well.

And another question comes up: when The Shot is a European source, too, then where is the difference between The Shot and the BBC?

While the BBC sucks readers without passing them on, and this is the clear goal of the site, The Shot only runs services which are not available on other sites or casts alternative views where it seems helpful. All services that are already available in a good quality and over a considerable period of time (and known to me) are referred to as links.

Every service that becomes delivered by another source can become replaced by a link and consequently set free forces for developing new projects.

New projects that will be talked about in the next paragraph...

3. The future: The Shot has big plans - but will they be possible?
The game plan of The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net
now is the following:

1) help carrying Africa into the European conciousness: connect coverage which introduces the African game with interesting stuff about the German/European game. This I have realised in a weekly German halfsatirical version (www.bundesligaskandal.de). So people start to notice the existence of the African game and read into. 
There have been already big progresses, with or withoutmy help I don't know. African country results are now printed in 'Kicker', Germanys #1 football magazine, where the continent did hardly exist until a few years ago. The live ticker coverages have found their way into portals, where in the time before the 2nd swedish league had been more present than the African Nations Cup. And I f.e. received a request by an international mobile telephone result service to help them with results.

2) help building structures for the African African football presence on the web: not to occupy those structures (like BBC) but to prepare them for Africans to take over. Or create networks and deliver the coordination. So whenever there will be a service or somebody being able to take over a particular part what The Shot is doing, (and provided this will serve those purposes), it will become integrated as a part, a link or something similar.
And The Shot will not double up but start something new instead. There are some excitig plans I have.

Unfortunately I am in a situation where I find it hard to lay all the necessary structures all alone (and in the required tempo) because there isn't any income yet which could finance the effort. Which also means I am unfortunately slow in letting the people know about the very existence of such plans. 

One step is that I am about to found something like a supporters club. Such a club can easier gather support money for projects as it will have clear goals written down and some kind of democratic structure.

It only all develops in slowmotion.
Of course I need some compensation for myself, too, after investing so much and now being in an uncomfortable financial situation. I could drop the whole thing and work more in different fields for good payment, as I have learned a lot including some programming. (although I am rather an artist than a programmer)

But I do not want to throw this project away and stop halfway now so I try to continue.

4. concrete: what next? how can I help?
next concrete plans are 
africanfootballclubs.com - a network to introduce African clubs to the world 
the shot . net - a similar network for interchange between football cultures

Maybe you have your own ideas to help or what could be done

please make contact by mail

I have started to think about some ideas I do not know whether they can be arranged this way:

Of course, money always helps. In a situation like this, even micropayments are a relief, even a paid cup of coffee while I am reporting for you is an encouraging idea. One problem: how to pay?
And: it is more satisfying to receive something for it anyway.

So I have created the idea of a supporters club. Buy club memberships and be a supporter of The Shot. I will offer various levels of supporters club memberships (gold, silver, symbolic) and some will be connected to some gadgets you will receive in return (shirt or CD). It will have its own online assemblies and it will be able to discuss and influence what happens with The Shot.

But all here I could very well need your help as my limited time keeps me from executing all ideas.

For example: Do you live in Paris? Then you could go to the trainig session of PSG and ask some players like Okocha or Cisse for support for The Shot.
The-Shot.Net intends to create connections or adoptions for little projects between players and home clubs, between European clubs and African clubs etc.. 

For example: Do you live in Zambia? Then you could 1. provide me with informations 2. make contacts to local clubs, media, or authorities to create common projects, or 3. create a website or content for it that will become integrated into the new The Shot network.

For example: Do you live in Germany? You could become active in your social surrounding, getting your club making a symbolic partnership with The Shot and/or an African club. You could help me in the effort to contact bodies or people in key positions which might be able to help The Shot with funds or by logical support.


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