The Most Popular Sports in South Africa
In South Africa, sports are extremely important. It has continued to unite entire generations of citizens for decades with millions of like-minded people coming together through the collective admiration for sports and live events and global tournaments only bolstering the sense of togetherness it provides. It has also been boosted by the growth and development of online slots and betting platforms throughout the region in recent years with more ways than ever before to participate in both minor and major sports matches. To familiarise yourself with the most popular sports in South Africa, continue reading.
It may not necessarily come as a surprise to you as an existing sports fan but football, or soccer as it is perhaps more commonly known in the region, is the most popular team-based sport in South Africa. This has led to the formation of the men’s national football team, called the Bafana Bafana, in 1992, and the women’s national football team, called the Banyana Banyana, in 1993, which have continued to thrust the football scene in the region onto a global stage with the country’s best clubs playing in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). The country’s Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are, however, perhaps the closest rivals and tend to draw the largest crowds to their matches.
It may be football that the country is best known for but rugby also plays an important role in South Africa’s sporting scene with the national rugby team known as the Springboks. The country’s love for rugby may have materialised centuries ago but it wasn’t until 2016 when rugby sevens made its debut at the Summer Olympics as a variant of rugby with teams of seven players as opposed to 15 whilst rugby union, on the other hand, has been missing from the Olympics since 1924. It has also been reported that from a population of 50 million, around 10 million South Africans actively follow the country’s national rugby team.
If you know anything about sports in South Africa, you probably also know that cricket plays a fundamental role when it comes to the country’s global sporting scene. In the same way that the country’s national rugby team uses its national flower of the protea in its theming and branding, cricket has adopted a similar approach by naming its national team The Proteas. The team has gone on to achieve great success since their establishment in the late 1800s by becoming the first national team to be ranked first place in all three formats of the sport back in 2012 although they have thus far failed to get any further than the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup, ICC World T20, or ICC Champions Trophy.
South Africa has been home to some of the world’s most globally renowned individually-timed bicycle races for decades and with thousands of fans flocking to the region every year to participate or attend, the country’s love for cycling is only reaching brand-new heights. The Cape Cycle Tour, for example, is held annually in Cape Town and is the first ever event held outside of Europe and to be granted a place in the Union Cycliste Internationale’s Golden Bike Series.
In South Africa, a number of sports have somewhat naturally become more popular than others with centuries worth of culture, history, and traditions resulting in one of the world’s most globally rich sporting scenes. This has also resulted in a country where football, rugby, cricket, and cycling now well and truly reign supreme with thousands of citizens and visitors flocking to events and tournaments in the region every single year.