Portal:Football in Africa


Cameroon's Benoît Assou-Ekotto jostles for possession with Mustapha Allaoui of Morocco

Football is the most popular sport in Africa. Indeed, football is probably the most popular sport in every African country, although rugby and cricket are also very popular in South Africa. (Full article...)

Football was first introduced to Africa in the early 1860s by Europeans,[1] due to the colonisation of Africa. The first recorded games were played in South Africa in 1862 between soldiers and civil servants and there were no established rules for the game at this time;[2]" Initially, there were various forms of playing the game, which included elements of both rugby and soccer. It was not until October 26, 1863 that the "rules of association football were codified."[2] The first official football organization in Africa, Pietermaritzburg County Football Association, was established in 1880.Teams were being established in South Africa before 1900, Egypt and in Algeria during a similar time period. Savages FC (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), and Gezira SC are the oldest African football clubs that remain in existence. Both began play in 1882 followed by Alexandria SC (1890), CDJ Oran from Algeria in 1894 and CAL Oran from Algeria too in 1897. By the 1930s, football was being played in Central Africa. In 1882, the first national governing body on the content was formed, South African Football Association (SAFA). SAFA was a whites-only association that became the first member of FIFA in South Africa in 1910.[2]
Egyptian Olympic football team, 1928
As Africa is a highly superstitious continent many African teams depend on witch doctors for success.[3][4][5][6][7] Activities that witch doctors have performed for teams include cutting players, placing potions on equipment, and sacrificing animals.[8]
Ivory Coast national football team before a match against Poland on 17 November 2010
The Ivory Coast national football team (French: Équipe de football de Côte d'Ivoire, recognized as the Côte d'Ivoire by FIFA) represents Ivory Coast in men's international football. Nicknamed the Elephants, the team is managed by the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF). The team has won the Africa Cup of Nations three times, in 1992, 2015 and 2023, and has qualified for the FIFA World Cup three times, in 2006, 2010, and 2014.

Ivory Coasts's home colours are all orange. Since 2020 their home games have been played at Alassane Ouattara Stadium, in Abidjan. Prior to this their home ground was Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, also in Abidjan. Didier Zokora holds the record for number of caps, with 123. The nation's leading goalscorer is Didier Drogba, who scored 65 goals for the Elephants in 105 Appearances.

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Michael Essien playing for Chelsea in 2010
Michael Essien is a Ghanaian footballer who currently plays for Indonesian Liga 1 side Persib Bandung. He is a midfielder who has often been touted as a box-to-box midfielder for his ability to exert energy in supporting offensive and defensive play and for his tough tackling style which has earned him the nickname "The Bison". Essien can also play as a defender, both on the right of defence and in the centre.

Essien began his career playing for Liberty Professionals in his home country. In 2000, he moved to France joining Bastia. Essien spent three seasons at the club appearing in over 60 matches before joining league champions Olympique Lyonnais in 2003. At Lyon, Essien won back-to-back league titles in 2003–04 and 2004–05 and also played in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. During his five-year stint in France, he acquired French citizenship. In 2005, Essien signed with Chelsea for a fee of £24.4 million and, at the time of his signing, was the most expensive African footballer in history. At Chelsea, Essien helped the club win the Premier League in 2006 and 2010, as well as three FA Cups and one Football League Cup. In 2008, he appeared in the UEFA Champions League Final. He has won the Chelsea Goal of the season award twice, in the 2006–07 and 2008–09 seasons.

Essien is a former Ghanaian international. At youth level, he represented his country at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with the latter team finishing as runner-up. Essien made his senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where Ghana reached the Round of 16. He is often referred to as "the Bison" for his tough tackling style, boundless energy and physical presence on the pitch.

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Public bus in Nairobi
Public bus in Nairobi
Credit: Davykamanzi

A public bus in Nairobi, Kenya bearing the name of Spanish footballer Diego Costa, pictured on 17 August 2014. Football in Kenya is controlled by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), and the nation became a member of FIFA in 1960, prior to their independence in 1963.


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  1. ^ "The History Of Soccer In Africa". NPR.org. 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  2. ^ a b c Alegi, Peter (2010). African Soccerscapes. Ohio University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9780896802780.
  3. ^ Frimpong, Enoch Darfah. "Ghana news: A world of superstition, frustration and disillusionment - Graphic Online". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  4. ^ Lacey, Marc (8 August 2002). "Kangemi Journal; For Spellbinding Soccer, the Juju Man's on the Ball". The New York Times. NY Times. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  5. ^ "World Cup Witchcraft: Africa Teams Turn to Magic for Aid". National Geographic. Archived from the original on July 10, 2006. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  6. ^ Andy Mitten (September 2010). The Rough Guide to Cult Football. Rough Guides UK. ISBN 9781405387965. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  7. ^ "African Nations Cup overshadowed by hocus pocus | Football". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  8. ^ Kuper, Simon (2006). Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Stops Wars, Fuels Revolutions, and Keeps Dictators in Power. Nation Books. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-56025-878-0.