Jessica Hilltout, a Belgian-born photographer, drove across Africa for seven months last year to capture the continent's love of soccer in advance of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Her photographs are currently on display in galleries in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Brussels.
"As the World Cup draws to a close this week, images of the highly commercialized, FIFA-sanctioned soccer will not be the only lasting ones," writes Celia Dugger.
Left, villagers in Mozambique share a soccer field with a herd of cattle. (Pic: NYT)
In a photograph titled "Nelito's Ball, Nhambonda, Mozambique," a boy's equipment is homemade. (Pic: NYT)
Twin brothers in Ghana have shirts with names of African-born players in the England-based Chelsea Football Club. (Pic: NYT)
"The most oddly soulful of Ms. Hilltout's images are of objects: the homemade balls fashioned by children from plastic bags, old socks and rags, tied up with string or strips of tree bark," Ms. Dugger writes.
Left, a rubber band ball in Chipanga, Malawi. In the following slides, more images of makeshift soccer balls. (Pic: NYT)