Sports and especially football animate the lives of millions of people in Africa. Yet, until recently the social sciences have paid very little attention to these activities on the continent. The first part of this paper provides a brief overview of social scientific writing in English (and to a lesser degree in French) about sports and argues that the field has been understudied on the continent. It continues by delineating some of the reasons why this is so, ranging from the weaknesses of sports studies, to perceptions of academics of what is a fitting subject for scientific inquiry, to seeing sport as irrelevant for the solving of the problems of underdevelopment. The second part provides an analysis of one particular case, that of the Cameroonian government's handling of three World Cups and the Cameroonian population's varying responses to it, with the intention of showing the relevance and fruitfulness of paying attention to sport in Africa.