Sports in Africa, today, are very well diversified and are spread across various sporting disciplines the fraternity has to offer. Playing competitive sports at international level is not new to African countries, and this can be supported by their rich and ancient sporting history which dates back to 3500BC. Today, sports have become an integral part of many African lives, as it has given them the kind of recognition they deserved for being a part of such a great continent.
Role Of Sports in Africa and Its Unity
When speaking of Sports in Africa, the first thing that comes into one’s mind is, the kind of role it has played in inspiring many African nations like Nigeria, Ghana, etc., to tall stand on a global stage. Sport has been instrumental in unifying many Africans who initially discriminated each other on the basis of their color, cast, creed or sex. But today, it’s a history.
Apart from providing inspiration to the Africans, sports in Africa, has now become even more powerful and has reached a stage, where it positively affects the entire African economy both financially and reputation wise. Moreover, success in sports has also given them the confidence to bid for and host some of the high profile international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup and the Cricket World Cup among others.
Popular Sports in Africa
Today, there are many sports being played all across the African continent. However, only a few of them have a huge fan base. And when talking about the fan base, Soccer has to come first. This game was initially brought into the continent by the French, Portuguese and the British in the early 1800’s. Unlike many other sports at that time, football was very inexpensive. This has made the game very popular among the Africans. Today, more than 100 players from different African countries play for different football clubs across the world have made a name for themselves globally.
Rugby is yet another famous sport in Africa, not only because it has a huge fan base, but also because it has served as a center stage for racial reconciliation of South Africa. In 1995, when the Rugby World Cup took place for the first time on an African soil and South Africa won it, the then President, Mr. Nelson Mandela, wore jersey bearing number 7. Incidentally, the jersey number belonged to Francois Pienaar, a white SA player. That called in for a huge applaud and unity between blacks and whites of the nation who were in a huge turmoil. That’s what sports in Africa can do, and as a matter of fact, that’s what sports can do anywhere in the world.
Sports and Global Recognition
Not only Soccer and Rugby, there are numerous other sports in which today’s African youth is participating and doing well. For example, let’s take cycling. “The Cape Town Cycle Tour,” is the world’s biggest cycling event that attracts more than 35,000 participants every year. Athletics is another fast growing sport in Africa in which both men and women have been constantly breaking records at both world championships as well as Olympics. Cricket is yet another sport in which South Africa occupies the top spot at the international test level. Thus, sports in Africa has not only helped Africans achieve global recognition, but also helped them find unity among themselves, and taught them to stand together no matter what.