6/14/2022

8 Most Popular Sports in Africa

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8 Most Popular Sports in Africa

8 Most Popular Sports in Africa

Sports in Africa have been around for a long time and have been recognized for their excellence in various fields.  Sports bring people together regardless of their backgrounds and social affiliation.

The sports industry has been instrumental in the development of the African economy. Due to the increasing number of international sporting events that are being held in the continent, Africa has been able to gain a reputation as a host of high-profile events. 

Africa has various different sports, but what are the most popular sports in Africa?

Wrestling

Throughout history, African communities have been known to host various types of wrestling matches. This traditional sport has also been carried out in various communities such as Southern Egypt, Sudan, and Senegal. The sport was first introduced to the region by the Nubian people over 3,000 years ago.

In Senegal, wrestling is considered to be the country's favorite sport, and it has also contributed to the development of its economy. Aside from being a traditional sport, it also serves as a representation of African culture. Due to its active national sports scene, wrestling has also been watched across the border in West Africa.

The origins of this sport can be traced back to the villages. During the dry season, farmers would go to the city to look for jobs, and during this time, the people there would pay them to watch and bet on matches, as it is now done via the best betting app in Tanzania. Because of the poverty in the rural areas, many of these individuals would entertain and fight the urban residents in order to earn money.

Football

One of the most popular sports in Africa is football, and it is widely regarded as the sport's favorite. It traces its origins back to the 1800s when Portuguese, French, and British colonialists first introduced it to the continent. Unlike other sports, football does not require a lot of resources to play.

In rural areas, children are often seen playing football. The talent for this sport is usually discovered at the grassroots level. This is because many of the country's professional players started their careers playing on local football fields.

The number of professional football clubs in Africa has been increasing significantly over the past couple of years. There are now over 20 different professional leagues and clubs on the continent. Sponsorship from the private and public sectors has also contributed to the popularity of the game.

Rugby

The popularity of rugby has increased significantly due to the growing number of countries in Africa that have started to introduce the sport. South Africa, for instance, has over 600,000 registered players. The sport's popularity in the continent started in South Africa, where it played a vital role in the country's post-apartheid era. Other countries that have excelled in the sport include Ghana, Kenya, and Namibia.

In 1995, South Africa's national team, South Africa's rugby team, the Boks, won the World Cup. During this event, Nelson Mandela, the country's president at that time, wore a No. 6 shirt for the team's white player, Francois Pienaar. This was a symbol of the country's racial reconciliation.

In Kenya, the country's rugby industry has been growing rapidly due to the country's annual Safari Sevens Tournament. In 2016, Kenya's national team won the World Series of the International Board of Sport for sevens.

Cycling

Despite the sport's popularity in Western nations, cycling has also been growing in Africa. South Africa is known for its beautiful cycling routes, which are a full exploration of different parts of the country. 

Many people in the country of Eritrea are expecting the country to be a cycling nation. Its talented athletes, such as Merhawi Kudus and Daniel Teklehaimanot, have already become the first Africans to compete in the Tour de France. Although cycling has been a popular sport in the country, it's not widely known that Italian colonialists first introduced bicycles to the country in 1898.

Athletics

Africa has been able to consistently perform well at international competitions and the continent's talented athletes have been able to break various world records. 

African athletes have been instrumental in promoting the continent as a sports destination. They have also contributed to the steady growth of the tourism industry on the continent. Athletics in Africa dates back to the 1908 Olympics when Reggie Walker of South Africa became the first African to win a gold medal in the 100-meter sprint.

Cricket

In Africa, cricket is a popular sport, especially in countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Kenya. In Kenya, cricket has been used to empower communities. 

Besides Kenya, cricket is also popular in other countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. In Nigeria, it's considered to be the oldest sport in the country. Twenty years before the national team of Nigeria played a football match, cricket was first played.

Rallying

The popularity of motor rallies in Africa has made it one of the most popular sports on the continent. The rough and challenging terrain of the African roads is a favorite of rally fans. Aside from being a spectator sport, it also serves as a venue for aspiring drivers.

The number of spectators watching rallies has continuously grown each year due to the various events that are held across the continent. The Africa Rally Championship is an annual event that's held across various African nations.

Despite the various challenges that the organizers of these events face, such as the lack of proper funding, the sport is still popular in Africa. 

Basketball

Since the introduction of basketball to the continent in the 1960s, it has become one of the most popular sports in the region. Besides being a spectator sport, it also serves as a venue for African boys and girls to have fun.

In many African cities, you'll see young men wearing t-shirts and sweatshirts with the names of prominent NBA players. Both private and public schools have also started using basketball training facilities to improve the skills of their students.

Due to the increasing number of professional teams in the region, the number of clinics dedicated to improving the skills of basketball players has also increased. Some of the countries where this sport is commonly practiced include Egypt, Tunisia, and Ghana.


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