Soccer in South Africa

Soccer Stadium, South Africa.

Football (or soccer as we prefer to call it) is probably the biggest participant sport in the world, and is certainly one of the most watched, so it's not surprising that it has a very big following in South Africa and all over Africa.

Every town has a soccer club and in even the tiniest settlement, you will find a dusty field with makeshift goals where the local children - and their dads - play their hearts out.

The sport in this country is headed by the South African Football Association (SAFA) with there being 2 main sections, a professional arm run by the National Soccer League where huge sponsorship is injected into the game via the Premier League which has 16 professional teams countrywide.

The fan base of South African soccer is quite amazing and the game is taken very seriously. Sit in a stadium and you will be bombarded by cheers of joy or disappointment (listen out for the term 'laduma') and the blowing of the vuvuzelas echoing around you. It's hard not to get into the spirit of the game.

While there are keen fans all over the country, in Gauteng, the 2 major teams Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs have a following bordering on religious fervour. South Africa hosted (and won) the African Cup of Nations in 1995 and made a bid (unfortunately unsuccessfully) to host the 2006 World Cup.

Undaunted, we bid again for the 2010 World Cup, and won! This successful bid for this event will mean an immense boost to tourism for that period as more countries enter the Soccer World Cup than enter the Olympic Games - and the audience interest is immense.

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