Africa is a continent where sports are taken incredibly seriously. Most, if not all, African countries harbor a deep passion and love for games like soccer, cricket, basketball, and boxing. So it is no surprise that many great athletes have come from African nations. In this article, we would like to go over a few names worth mentioning, when discussing the greatest athletes to come out of Africa.
Dale Steyn, South Africa, Cricket
Cricket is among the most popular games in the world. In fact, there are over 2.5 billion fans of the sport worldwide, making it second only to football in terms of popularity. Naturally, this draws in a ton of bettors and gamblers, who want to test their luck against the odds.
Lucky for them, online sports betting and gambling has become mainstream in Africa nowadays. Fans can check out any notable sports betting websites and even play blackjack online at numerous web casinos. And in South Africa especially, cricket is one of the most popular sports to bet on.
When it comes to South African cricketeers, no name is more important than Dale Steyn. One of the Proteas’ greatest fast bowlers of all time, many regard Steyn to be the greatest Test bowler of his generation.
The Steyn Gun, as he was known by fans, has won several awards, been honored at numerous cricket events, and will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest cricket players of all time. In 2019, he retired from Test cricket, and is currently focusing on one-day cricket, or limited-overs cricket.
Benni McCarthy, South Africa, Football
We have another South African athlete follow Steyn. In his day, Benni McCarthy played forward in the South African national football team. During his tenure he became South Africa’s undisputed top goalscorer ever, scoring over 30 goals.
Football, or soccer, is an incredibly important game, especially to South Africans. So, seeing one of their best players retire could not have been easy. However, Benni McCarthy continues to bring a sense of pride to his country, as he currently coaches the first-team at Manchester United, one of the greatest football clubs in the world.
Though being a top goalscorer and excellent coach are not McCarthy’s only achievements. During his tenure with Porto, McCarthy won the UEFA Champions League, becoming the first and to-date only South African player to do so. Truly, he deserves to be remembered as one of the greats.
Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya, Long-Distance Running
Moving away from South Africa, let us briefly visit Kenya, and look at Eliud Kipchoge. Without a doubt one of the greatest runners of all time, Eliud Kipchoge currently competes in the marathon. Though he is likely best known for his performances at the 5000 meter runs.
Many might be familiar with Kipchoge as the man who won two gold medals. He attained first place in the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Olympics, both at the marathon competition. Currently, he is also the world record holder for fastest marathon run, with just over 2 hours.
Apart from his Olympic Gold Medals, he has also won silver and bronze at the Olympics as well. He has won the World Championships gold medal, the World Cross Country Championship Gold Medal, and ten World Marathon Majors gold medals. Without a doubt, he is among the greatest runners in the world, and currently considered the absolute best.
Dikembe Mutombo, Congo, Basketball
According to Mutombo, his earliest career aspiration was to become a doctor. And he worked hard and admirably toward this goal, even winning a scholarship to attend an American university. It was there that Mutombo was exposed to basketball. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Dikembe Mutombo took up basketball in college, and quickly showed an incredible talent for the game. Unsurprisingly, he ended up playing in the National Basketball Association for an incredible 18 seasons. Throughout his time, he played with the Denver Nuggets, the Philly 76ers, the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets.
During his time as an active player, Dikembe attained a reputation as the bar-none, best shot blocker, one of the top defensive players in NBA history, and even won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, as well as eight All-Stars. In 2007, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second most successful shot blocker of all time. So, his name definitely deserves a mention on this list.