In June 2010, Ashley embarked on a project of his which was to document Africa’s reaction to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The outcome is a 52 minute long documentary that took him across Africa from Nigeria to Nairobi and eventually Soweto. Titled “Standing at the Touchlines” this documentary is about Africa celebrating hosting its first the World Cup.
The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing.
Activist Steve Biko wrote this statement in his book “I write what I like” before his death in 1977. He was referring to life under apartheid in South Africa, but this statement is relevant on another level in 2010 and inspired the name of this documentary.
In this “Standing at the touchlines”, Ashley intended on finding out if South Africa hosting the World Cup will bond a continent. Will Africa put aside its troubles for a month and embrace the World’s greatest sporting event?
Ashley travelled to Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon in West Africa. These countries have been hotbeds of raw football talent for many European clubs and have all qualified for the finals in South Africa.
From there, Ashley visited Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda but unfortunately did not make it to the Sudan. In these East African countries he visited a sports clinic for street children, watch them train and then watch a World Cup game with them.
During the semi finals and the final of the World Cup, Ashley was in South Africa to capture the local atmosphere. Basing himself in Johannesburg he visited regional areas to film the festivities taking place.
“Standing at the Touchlines” aired on television in Africa and Asia and was selected for the 2013 African World Documentary Film Festival.