Most popular sports in South Africa


South Africa's Banyana-Banyana celebrate winning WAFCON 2022

JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africans are extremely passionate about sports. Football, rugby and cricket are the most popular and are known as ‘The Big Three’. But other sports like boxing, athletics and cycling are also seeing a huge increase in their popularity.

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1- Football
Football is the most popular sport in South Africa. The prestigious World Cup was hosted in Africa in the year 2010 when Spain emerged victorious after defeating Netherlands in the final.

The national football team hasn’t been very successful on the world stage. But still it has appeared at the World Cup on three occasions. Benedict McCarthy, Aaron Mokoena and Lucas Radebe are some of the most famous South African football players.

2- Rugby Union
Rugby union is also one of the most popular sports in South Africa. The Springboks, the rugby team of the country, have been highly successful in the world of rugby. They have been representing the nation in international Rugby Union since 1891.
The Springboks have won the World Cup three times, with their first one coming in 1995 when they hosted the tournament. They are also the reigning World Champions, emerging victorious in 2019. The South African side are equalled with New Zealand’s All Blacks with three World Cup wins.

The Springboks’ rivalry with the All Blacks is hugely famous. Some of their most famous players are Bryan Habana, Naas Botha, Mark Andrews, and Siya Kolisi.

3- Cricket
Cricket also has a massive following in South Africa. The Proteas, as they are also known, is administered by Cricket South Africa and is a full member of the ICC, with Test, One-Day International and Twenty20 International status. The team has the distinction of holding the number one spot in international rankings.
The country has produced some of the greatest cricketers in the world. Jacques Kallis was spectacular both with the bat and the ball, averaging an impressive 55 runs in tests and 44 runs in ODIs. Hashim Amla holds the record for the fastest player to reach 2000,3000,4000,5000,6000 and 7000 runs. The right-handed batsman also made 26 centuries in the ODI format.

4- Athletics
Athletics is also a very famous sport in South Africa. The country has produced some of the most successful track and field athletes. It is also renowned in both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.

Many would have been familiar with the name of Oscar Pistorius who is arguably the most popular Paralympics athlete in the world. The famous athlete belongs to South Africa and has represented the nation in many prestigious competitions. Some of the other famous athletes are Caster Semenya, Sunette Viljoen, and Willem de Beer, etc.

5- Basketball
Basketball has the distinction of being the fifth most popular sport in South Africa. Though its popularity is very far from the top three sports, it is definitely growing at a fast pace. The sport’s fame is particularly increasing among the youth. Basketball South Africa is the governing body of the sport, which was founded in 1992, one of the most recent ones in FIBA.

The country has yet to produce a basketball star who made it to the NBA. Neo Mothiba, Shane Marhanele, Christopher Gabriel are one of the most famous players of the sport in South Africa.

6- Boxing
If we are talking about one of the most popular sports in South Africa, then we cannot omit the name of boxing. This sport is also growing in popularity in the African country as well as the rest of the world.
South Africa has the distinction of producing an incredible 71 world champions. Vic Toweel became the first South African to win a title and become World bantamweight champion. One of the most recent boxers who made a name for themselves is Jeffrey Mathebula who held the IBF junior featherweight title in 2012.

7- Golf
Golf is also a famous sport in South Africa. It dates back to a very long time ago and boasts a rich history in the country.

South Africa has the distinction of being one of the best golfing nations in the world. Gary Player, Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel are some of the most famous names in the sport.

8- Cycling
Before we discuss the eighth most popular sport, we should mention horse racing which is also seeing growth in the country. While it still has a long way to go, the demand among punters to place bet on horse racing is on the rise, a sign the sport is growing strong.

The last name on our list is cycling, which also has a tremendous competitive scene in the country. Robert Hunter is the most successful cyclist who won a stage in the 2007 Tour de France. Greg Minnaar is another name who has the distinction of being a 7-time downhill mountain bike world champion.

– CAJ News


Most popular sports in South Africa
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