Team Africa Turkey
They were professional footballers in their home countries. They came to Turkey on false promises of progress. Their path is guided by the fickle market of football glory, growing fat off the dreams of men. Its reach is global, and its dreamers walk all possible livelihoods.
Liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals. In this state of liminality, residues of one objective understanding blend with dreams of another. In this state, dreams are given heightened powers. In Ferikoy, in Gayrettepe, in Çapa, in .., in … They play in the mornings, evenings, nights. They play holy matches, church to church, country to country, club to club, friend to friend.
A bird’s arc moves from the point of departure between land and sky, to an apex of infinite height and duration. The sky is full of traces and invisible circles marking their flight. Footballers mark their circles on pitches between lands, economies, language. Their experiences are historical reflections of obsessive consumption, systems of exploitation, neo-colonial games, the self-respect of men. This is the gap between their reality and dream, the space between a question and an answer.
“He is setting out single-handed to complete a historic transformation which has been stopped short.” (John Berger, The Seventh Man).
“We’re on the same course, and that’s the most important thing. No matter what is going on, everything will be alright. No matter what is going on, people will encourage you.” (Joshua, Footballer).
These photographs document a group of young professional footballers who were brought to Turkey from various African countries, many on scams. They are continuing their playing careers in revolving non-professional clubs in Istanbul with the ambition of being scouted to continue their professional careers.