A year prior to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Belgian-born photographer Jessica Hilltout embarked on a seven-month road trip across the continent to get a sense of its people's love of the game.
'The beautiful game exists in its purest form in what I saw,' she told the New York Times after her trip, 'people playing for the joy of playing.
Some of the more iconic images captured by Hilltout that demonstrate the continent's devotion to the game are the makeshift balls found in some of the more remote villages of Africa.
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The beautiful game? Photographer Jessica Hilltout travelled across Africa to document the continent's love of football and then lengths children will go to make their own balls
Love of the game: African children love the game so much they make homemade balls
Jessica Hilltout traveled around Africa with deflated soccer balls and watched as children managed to find use for them
African children make balls out of bark, rags and other found items
The homemade balls often made by children are constructed from various items - rags, tree bark, condoms; if children can mold something into a circular shape, they can turn it into a ball.
According to the Times report, the ' improvised balls bounce like real ones for a few days before the air escapes.'