Top 10 Most Popular Sports in Africa in 2024

Welcome to this post about the top 10 most popular sports in Africa in 2024, via Afrokonnect. Sports has always held an important role in Africa culture as it has served as a source of unity and provided Africans with a general sense of pride.

The continent’s rich sporting history spans across various sports ranging from football to athletics and rugby. This has positively contributed to the social and economic growth of various regions across the continent.

In 2024, the sporting sector in Africa has grown immensely as it has evolved with the introduction of modern influences but it has continued to maintain its traditional roots/culture. This article has been drafted to explore the top 10 sports in Africa in 2024 and examine its significance to the growth of the continent positively.

1. Football (Soccer):

This sports can be regarded as the most popular sport in the world and it also has a very huge fan base on the African continent. It was introduced to Africans by the Europeans during the colonial era and it became popular across the continent by the mid-20th century.

The main criteria of its growth rests on its simplicity and minimal equipment requirements hence making it accessible to people from all works of life to enjoy. Presently, the sport has evolved from a recreational sport on the continent to a professional one which serves as a means of livelihood for thousands of Africans.

Today, the sport is the most popular in Africa with competitions such as the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) recording millions of views both local and abroad. Local leagues such as the South African Premier League Soccer (PSL) and the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) have begun to make head waves globally with numerous talents within their ranks.

Global Superstars

  • Sadio Mane (Senegal);
  • Mohammed Salah (Egypt); and
  •  Victor Oshimhen (Nigeria).

2) Athletics:

Africa has dominated the athletic world especially the “long-distance races” with countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia leading the charge by producing world-class runners who excel in international competitions.

This renowned excellence in athletics especially “long-distance” can be attributed towards the genetic nature of the African man & woman. Athletics play a crucial role in promoting national pride and unity on the African continent.

The success of African athletes on the global stage serves as a source of unity and pride for the African continent and their respective countries. It also serves as a source of fostering a sense of community among Africans as major victories are celebrated across the continent transcending both ethnic and cultural barriers.

Global Superstars

  • Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya);
  • Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa); and
  • Caster Semenya (South Africa).

3) Rugby:

This sports is played in Africa but doesn’t have a continental coverage like that of football or athletics but is very popular in selected countries most notably South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya. The strongest rugby nation on the African continent is South Africa, hence earning her a reputation as one of the strongest rugby nations on PLANET EARTH.

South Africa Story in Rugby

South Africa’s success in this sport is a testament to her rugby’s prowess. The national team of South Africa, the SPRINGBOKS, has won the World Cup three times in 1995, 2007, & 2016.

This has earned them the spot of the most successful teams in the tournament’s history. Their successes has also impact their nation significantly as it has promoted a sense of national unity and reconciliation. The team first trophy which was in 1995 was won after the end of the apartheid making it very historic for the South Africans.

Global Superstars

  • Siya Kolisi (South Africa)
  • Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
  • Akuila Rokolisoa (Namibia)

4) Cricket:

Cricket, just like Rugby enjoys majority of its popularity in selected countries, the most prominent being South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. South Africa remains the major pioneer of the sport as Zimbabwe and Kenya have only made notable contributions to the sport but haven’t been as dominant as their counterpart.

South Africa’s has been a formidable force since their readmission to the sport in 1991 after years of isolation due to apartheid. They have performed will in ICC tournaments such as the Cricket World Cup and the ICC T20 World Cup.

Zimbabwe and Kenya haven’t performed badly themselves as Kenya achieved a remarkable feat by reaching the semi-finals of the 2003 Cricket World Cup even though they were a non-Test-playing nation.

Presently, there have been numerous efforts to expand the sport beyond its traditional strongholds to other nations on the African continent such as Namibia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The African Cricket Association (ACA) plays a crucial role in coordinating these efforts to ensure the improved standard of cricket across the continent.

Global Superstars

  • AB de Villiers (South Africa)
  • Hashim Amla (South Africa)
  • Prosper Utseya (Zimbabwe)

5) Basketball:

Basket is being played in several African countries with the most popular being Nigeria, Senegal, and Angola. The sports local and international widespread appeal can be attributed to its fast pace and high-scoring nature hence viewers can never be bored while watching.

Countries such as Nigeria, Angola, and Senegal are blessed with a rich pool of athletic talents hence leading to their emergence as a powerhouse in the sport locally and globally.

Also, the success of African players in the NBA (National Basketball Association) has immensely boosted the profile of the sport on the continent. These athletes have gradually transformed into global superstars hence showcasing the best of African talent on the global stage.

Their achievements have served as an inspiration to young Africans who aim to pursue a career in the sport and brought immense attention and investment to the sport on the African continent.

Global Superstars

  • Joel Embiid (Cameroon)
  • Pascal Siakem (Cameroon)
  • Luol Deng (South Sudan)

6) Boxing:

This sport has a very rich history in Africa as it has been a popular and respected sport for many decades. Various African boxers have made significant strides on the global stage with several legendary status.

The sport popularity has grown to the extent that across the continent there are numerous boxing clubs and gyms in every city which serves as training grounds for aspiring grounds.

Boxing due to its popularity has been added to the Olympic Games hence serving as a platform for qualified Africans to showcase their skills and compete for titles. There are also several domestic tournaments which ensures the development of boxers and offers them opportunities for competition and exposure.

Global Superstars

  • Azumah Nelson (Ghana)
  • Samuel Peter a.k.a “The Nigeria’s Nightmare” (Nigeria)
  • Jake Matlala (South Africa)

7) Cycling:

This sport although unpopular has begun to experience a massive surge in popularity across Africa with countries like Eritrea and Rwanda leading the charge. Eritrea is often referred to as the “The cycling capital of Africa” as it has a rich cycling history which dates back to the colonial era.

The sport draws major attention across the country as thousands line the streets to cheer during local races. Rwanda, also has a rich cycling culture with its TOUR DU RWANDA becoming one of the prominent tournament across the continent.

Both nations have not only produced local cyclists but athletes who can compete on the global stage. Presently, African athletes are now competing in major events such as Tour de France and the Veulta a Espana.

Note: Daniel Teklehaimanot made history by becoming the first African to wear the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France. Also, cycling plays a significant role health-wise as it is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise. It has also been leveraged by various African countries such as Rwanda to advance its tourism aspirations.

Global Superstars

  • Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)
  • Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)
  • Darly Impey (South Africa)

8) Wrestling:

It is a sport which is deeply rooted in the culture of various African countries. Both the traditional and professional form thrives immensely across the continent. The traditional form of wrestling varies by regions as Senegal in West Africa calls its traditional wrestling – Laamb and it is immensely popular.

Traditional wrestling in Africa is more than a sport as it comprises of a cultural event that includes music, dance, and certain rituals.

Wrestlers are seen by some as traditional heroes and their matches aren’t meant to be about the fight but also social gatherings that enhances community bonds and cultural identity.

Efforts to professionalize the sport is ongoing as initiatives such as organizing standard leagues and providing financial support to wrestlers are ongoing. Also, the establishment of the African Wrestling Federation aims to standardize the sports rules and increase its visibility.

Global Superstars

  • Yekini (Senegal)
  • Balla Gaye II (Senegal)
  • Power Uti (Nigeria)

9) Tennis:

Tennis is growing steadily in Africa with countries such as South Africa, Tunisia, and Egypt taking the driver’s seat. These countries has ensured the injection of funding into the sport to address the issue of infrastructure, coaching, and grassroots hunting hence increasing the sport’s visibility.

Also, the considerable success of African athletes in the sport at international tournaments has brought pride and recognition to the continent. Their achievements has inspired a new generation of African athletes hence proving that talent from the continent can rival that of the world.

Global Superstars

  • Ons Jabeur (Tunisia);
  • Kevin Anderson (South Africa); and
  • Mayar Sherif (Egypt).

10) Motorsport:

This sport has been struggling to find a breakthrough on the African continent but due to the landscape which provides an ideal backdrop for these events, countries such as Kenya, Namibia, and South Africa have become hotspots for the sport. The most notable event of the sport is the Safari Rally in Kenya which was established in 1953.

Note, efforts to expand the visibility of the sport on the African continent is gathering fast momentum with the establishment of various initiatives to increase people participation, improve infrastructure, and engage the youth. Also, partnerships with international motorsport organizations have aided in elevating the sport’s profile and bring in expertise and resources needed.

Global Superstars

  • Ian Duncan (Kenya)
  • Carl Tundo (Kenya)
  • Giniel de Villiers (South Africa)

Conclusion about the top most popular 10 sports in Africa

most popular sports in Africa

Africa’s sports landscape in 2024 with what has been highlighted above have shown its diversity and dynamism just like the continent itself.

Africa, undoubtedly, has continued to make a significant impact on the global sports stage and embracing it while seizing modern opportunities will ensure Africa continue to produce champions.

Finally, it is important to note that no matter the sport, African athletes will keep pushing boundaries and achieving greatness, celebrating their heritage, and inspire future generations. Thanks for reading and I hope to see to see you again on


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