Schooling, football and managing the future in eastern Uganda

27th October 2022

Recent work on football in the global south has sought to explain the popularity of the sport in relation to a devaluation of schooling. As schools no longer provide a route to successful adulthood in the neoliberal present, youth, ‘stuck’ in waithood, increasingly turn to football to find their way into the future. This paper explores the relationship between football, schooling and the future in rural eastern Uganda and tells a different story. Rather than a reason to leave school, football proves to be a way to cultivate a schooled identity outside the school gates, provide opportunities for people to ‘pace’ their future, to seek out further schooling and provide social and political opportunities elsewhere.