The Boardroom

The lowdown on the people behind Sandals For Goalposts:


Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and bred in East London, Salim fell in love with the beautiful game through the otherworldly, irresistibly chic experience of World Cup 1998. He likes to spend a considerable amount of time playing the beautiful game and pondering about it. A graduate in Human Geography, his favourite players include Paul Scholes, Javier Zanetti, Juan Pablo Sorin, Hernan Crespo and Christian Vieri. Favourite African player? Serey Die. If he comes across someone who is not into football, he finds them a little bit weird.


Our resident Asian football writer/editor revels in watching, playing, analysing and generally being ubiquitously enveloped by football. So where did his passion for the game begin? On the big bad streets of Baghdad, of course. Those streets taught him many things, most importantly though, he is now very grateful when he is able to play on a grassy pitch, of which many exist in Scotland.

James E

Hailing from East London, James has been exposed to street football over the years and was an active participator. Now a student at University, James has toned down the amount of football he plays, but has started to appreciate the “hidden gems” in football. He is also the kind of guy to wear socks with sandals, only because he is one crazy guy.


American by birth, Canadian by naturalization, Algerian by heritage. Maher’s diverse background reflects his blanket approach to the beautiful game. Most of his spare time is consumed perusing forsaken pockets of the internet, scouting talents with glimpses of promise. Maher chose the Arsenal after an intense period of infatuation with Emmanuel Petit’s ponytail. Algeria chose Maher when his grandfather, a FIFA-licensed referee, inculcated in him a love for the national team. Maher is double-majoring in English/Philosophy, and he also has a minor in Political Science. He has an irrational and profound disgust for sandals. He will, therefore, never be caught wearing them, much less using them as goalposts.

James B

Born and raised in post-industrial South Wales, James is, surprisingly enough, a Torquay United fan, as his father is from South Devon. He grew up watching the Gulls on the terraces from the age of 6, watching the likes of Rodney Jack and Jason Roberts develop, as well as Neville Southall’s Indian summer. Today, he doesn’t get to see them much as he’s living in Coventry, studying the social and cultural history of football at Warwick University. He first caught onto African football as a result of the famous match between Angola and Mali at the 2010 Cup of Nations (the unreliable stream not putting him off), but he hasn’t made the step to wearing sandals yet.


Born and bred near Brighton on the South coast of England, and a frequent attender of games at the Emirates Stadium as an Arsenal fan, Sam got into African football after doing his undergraduate Geography dissertation on media representations of the African Cup of Nations. After reading about the wonderful exploits of Patrick Mbomba and Mohammed Aboutrika since 2002, he was left gasping for more, and was perfect timing as he joined the SFG team shortly before AFCON 2013.  A fan of debunking stereotypes made by British media about African football, he has since developed a fascination with Burkina Faso, citing their failure to qualify for the World Cup as up there with his worst moments in football (up their with Arsenal losing the Champions League final in Paris, but with less crying). Aristide Bance is his favourite African player, whose panenka in the AFCON 2013 semi-final penalty shootout goes down as one of his favourite moments in football.


Relocated Asian football fanatic who has always been on the lookout for something different from the mainstream. Going against parental pressure and locational convenience, he chose Norwich City to support from an early age, and has continued to root for the unusual in any context from his fashion influences to his musical preferences. He’s always had an interest in Asian football, harking back to the captivating pink kits of South Korea back in 2002 while he’s always had an admiration of East Asian imports to Europe including early pioneers; Junichi Inamoto and Park Ji-Sung. He joined the Sandals For Goalposts team ahead of our 2014 World Cup preparation, covering Australia and Japan’s doomed lead up and subsequent exits in Brazil.


Born and raised in a remote country called the Czech Republic, Tom had to clear some significant hurdles on his way to unconditional love for Asian football, eg. South Koreans being generally known only as “those cheaters of 2002”. Partially for this everlasting stereotype, but mostly for Ki Sung Yueng’s uniqueness, Tom has gradualy embraced South Korea as his undisputed Asian side, even though he was first struck by their arch rivals, Okada’s Japan, at the 2010 World Cup. Tom has been part of the SFG Asian crew since late 2014, yet in the meantime, he remains equally passionate about Africa too. He’s now reading African politics for Masters, focusing on Eastern parts of the continent, and during Afcons he usually finds himself cheering for Lusophone countries like Angola (2012) and Cape Verde (2013, 2015). This reality would be slightly different, though, had Uganda finally qualified for at least one damn edition.


Tehran born but Manchester resident. Fell in love with the beautiful game playing under the sun on concrete streets of Tehran with a plastic ball, but now he’s swapped that with muddy fields of Manchester and a rough game on a rainy Sunday. Passionate on Middle Eastern and Iranian football in particular. Never misses a game from the Iranian domestic league and loves a bit of tactical analysis on the games. His favourite players range from Ali Daei, Ali Karimi, Gianfranco Zola, Essam El-Hadary alongside few others. You will usually find him complaining about the never ending issues gripping and holding back Middle Eastern football.

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