Top Most Popular Sports in Africa Till Now

The popularity of the sport in the continent was boosted when it hosted the Cricket World Cup.
The popularity of the sport in the continent was boosted when it hosted the Cricket World Cup.

Association football (also known as soccer) is the most popular sport in almost all African countries.

Sports in Africa traces its roots long back in history and the continent is now widely recognized worldwide for its achievements in numerous fields of sport. Africa has become a bedrock of vibrant sports talent which cuts across various disciplines. Sports are highly valued across the world because it puts people together regardless of their ethnicity and social association.

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Today the leisure industry tends to contribute significantly to the African economy. Africa now has equal opportunities to host high-profile major sporting activities that have put Africa on the world sports map. Legendary African sporting stars have increased the continent’s profile by excelling in various sporting disciplines, and are now regional sporting stars.

1) Football:

Without a doubt, football is the most popular and favorite sport in Africa, tracing its origin back in the 1800s. It is prevalent to find youngsters playing football in any vacant lot in rural areas and even urban towns. You will be surprised that some of the most famous professional footballers began their careers in those humble playgrounds.

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AFCON 2019 final: Algeria crowned champions.

Today, more than 100 players from various African teams play in the first division league in Europe. Some of the African countries that have performed well in global soccer tournaments include Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, DRC, and Egypt.

2) Rugby:

The success of rugby in Africa was launched in South Africa. In fact, there are more than 600,000 registered rugby players in just South Africa. Rugby has gained a foothold in several African countries including Kenya, Namibia, and Ghana in recent years.

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South Africa triumph in Rugby World Cup Final.

Kenya ‘s rugby sector, for example, has exploded with more than 40,000 licensed players – women, adults, and teenagers. The Kenya national rugby team has also won the seven world series in 2016 held in the Emirates of Dubai.

3) Cycling:

While cycling has always been related to western nations, the sport has become increasingly popular in Africa. Cycling is a fast-growing phenomenon and very popular in South Africa, renowned for its picturesque and thrilling cycling itineraries. The varied cycling routes allow participants to explore various environments like trees-lined streets and luscious vineyards.

Team Africa Rising aim to build women's race squad from the ground ...
Team Africa Rising aims to build women’s race squad from the ground up.

Asmara City is famous because of its rich biking community consisting mainly of unique vintage bikes. Neighboring Ethiopia is popular on the grassroots for female cycling with exceptional talent. Many countries that have taken up the sport of cycling are Algeria and Kenya.

4) Cricket:

Cricket is a common African sport, especially in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Cricket has become popular and enjoyed throughout the globe, as has other sports. Just white men in South Africa were permitted to play cricket in accordance with the Apartheid policies several decades earlier. Because of apartheid, South Africa was banned from playing in international cricket for more than 20 years.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: South Africa Squad - EssentiallySports
South Africa National Cricket Team.

Other cricket playing countries include Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Cricket is the oldest sport in Nigeria, with the first official cricket match held in 1904, twenty years before Nigeria took part in a football game. Many African countries are currently playing in various international cricket matches thus reporting promising results.

According to ICC ODI Championship, South Africa ranks first with 50 matches, 5957 points, and a rating of 119. On the other hand, Zimbabwe has played 41 matches, earning 2129 points, and a rating of 52.

5) Wrestling:

Since time immemorial, wrestling has also been a part of many African cultures where wrestling matches were common in village areas. This practice has continued to this day in many communities, particularly in Senegal, Sudan Nubian communities, and Southern Egypt where wrestling is very common. Good wrestlers are well-respected and become prominent athletes.

Bulldogs clean house at nationals |Brakpan Herald
The club’s wrestlers brought back nine gold medals, one silver medal, one bronze and a fourth-place from the national championships.

Wrestling is Senegal’s favorite sport ahead of football, which has also played a vital role in a national transformation which economic emancipation. It is not only a sport but a great reflection of African society and tradition. Senegal is one of West Africa’s most successful and vibrant national sports hubs, and for that reason, Senegalese wrestling is now being watched across borders.

6) Rallying:

Motor rallies are recognized all over the continent and worldwide, making rallying one of Africa’s most popular activities. A favorite of rally enthusiasts is the rough African roads and off-road scenery. African rallies are known to be the world’s most demanding and put together established and potential rally drivers.

Pearl of Africa rally 2018 #Bwete #kawunyemu team - YouTube
Pearl of Africa rally 2018 Bwete and kawunyemu team.

Uganda is toping the African continent nationally with 2754 points in 27th place according to figures published by FIA, the world’s motorsport body. Rwanda is in 2nd position worldwide with 2124 points and 34th. With 1701 points, Zimbabwe is taking 3rd position in Africa and 38th globally.

7) Athletics:

The first thing that comes to one’s mind when it comes to the regional competition in Athletics is Africa or Africans. With their impressive show of stamina, strength, and speed, African athletes in the field of athletics have it, all-whether men or women. Kenyans, Ethiopians, South Africans, and Algerians dominated the world stage, breaking records and amassing every major award as a result.

Semenya grabs more gold for SA as championships wrap up | SASCOC ...
Semenya grabs more gold for SA as championships wrap up.

It is heartwarming to know that because of their excellence in this arena, sports tourism is becoming a valuable source of pride and, of course, revenues.

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8) Basketball:

Basketball has been increasingly popular since its emergence in the 1960s and is played throughout the continent. Young African boys and girls enjoy basketball, so it’s commonly played for recreation in neighborhoods, so dominates school tournaments as well.

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Former NBA players, Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo include prominent Africans who have played on the international stage. Olajuwon is a former NBA player who was born and played with the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors in Nigeria. Mutombo, on the other hand, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and played 18 NBA seasons successfully.

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Basketball is also popular in other countries such as Tunisia, Angola, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, and Cameroon but Nigeria is still on top of the FIBA Men’s Basketball Rankings list in the continent.

Other Sports
You can find facilities for a lot of sports including shooting and archery, rock climbing, powerboat racing, polo, bowling, and canoeing.

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