11 Of The Greatest Sporting Legends Across The African Continent

During the mid-twentieth century, sport in Africa was predominantly played by Europeans. This was the period of colonization. As a young sporting continent, Africa has certainly asserted its name across a multitude of sports.

A continent that has faced many historical challenges has seen itself produce some of the most prolific and admired athletes across the globe. From football to athletics, Africa continues to rise with its superstars of past and present.

We take a look back at the achievements of 11 of the greatest stars who have had an immense impact on their respective sporting disciplines.

1. Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) – Long-distance track athlete and road runner

A long-distance runner who hails from Ethiopia. He won 2 Olympic gold medals in the 10,000 meters and holds 4 world championship titles.
● 1993 in Stuttgart, Germany.
● 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
● 1997 in Athens, Greece.
● 1999 in Seville, Spain.

Haile Gebreselassie will forever be known as a remarkable athlete with an incredible record.

2. Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire) – Professional Footballer

Drogba is a renowned footballer who is most famous for his long-standing career at Chelsea football club where he amassed 164 goals for them across all competitions. He still holds a few records at Chelsea for the most goals scored by a non-English player, most cup final goals totalling 9, the most goals in a European competition at 36 goals and the most goals in a single Premier League season at 29 goals.

He has appeared for the Ivorian National team on 105 occasions with an astonishing 65 goals over his international career. Drogba was known to have a knack for scoring goals and for his incredible leadership skills on and off the field having captained both Chelsea and the Ivorian international side.

3. Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) – Middle Distance Runner

Considered by many as the greatest middle-distance runner of all time. He holds the world record for the 1500-meter and mile events. To date, he holds 7 of the top 10 fastest times ever run in both the 1500-meter and mile events. He is also the former record holder for the 2000-meter event. He became the only middle-distance runner ever to win four consecutive world titles, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003.

4. Kipchoge Keino (Kenya) – Track And Field Athlete

A long-distance runner who has won multiple Olympic medals, most notably winning gold in the 1500-meters at the 1968 Mexico City, Olympics. In 2000, he became an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee. In 2012, Kipchoge was inducted into the International Association of Athletics (IAAF) Hall of Fame.

He has inspired many fellow countrymen and women, inspiring the youth to follow in his footsteps and forming what is known as a formidable Kenyan athletic force today.

5. Stephen Keshi (Nigeria) – Professional Footballer And Coach

A defender, he captained the Nigerian football team, taking them to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations victory in 1994. He earned 69 caps for Nigeria in his career. He later went on to become a successful coach helping Togo qualify for its first-ever FIFA World Cup appearance back in 2006. He became one of two people to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and later as a coach.

6. El Hadji Diouf (Senegal) – Professional Footballer

He was a Senegalese professional footballer who was known for his skill and controversial behaviour on the field. Diouf took the field for Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers. Over his 9-year career representing Senegal, he scored 21 goals and earned 69 caps for his country.

7. Jacques Kallis (South Africa) – Professional Cricket Player

Possibly the greatest cricket all-rounder of all time. Jacques Kallis was a formidable player being likened to the batting of legend and great Sachin Tendulkar. He was compared to Zaheer Kahn with the ball in hand and was known as a stalwart in the slips. With an astonishing record in both test cricket and one-day internationals (ODIs), Kallis’ statistics speak for themselves.

ODI Record
● Matches: 329
● Runs scored: 11,579
● Wickets: 273
● Catches: 131

Test Record
● Matches: 166
● Runs scored: 13,289
● Wickets: 292
● Catches: 200

8. Serge Ibaka (Republic of the Congo) – Basketball Player

Serge is an incredible basketball player from the Republic of Congo. He has played in the NBA (National Basketball Association), in the United States. He is known for his formidable defensive skills and shot-blocking abilities. When playing with the Raptors, they won an NBA tournament, which must have felt like hitting the jackpot at Lucky Creek online casino.

9. Maria Mutola (Mozambique) – Middle Distance Runner

An Olympic gold medallist and multiple world champion in the 800-meters, Maria has had a prolific and successful career. She is only the fourth athlete to compete in the 800-meter event at 6 Olympic games. She is also the first and only person to have won Olympic Gold, World Championships, World Indoor Championships, Commonwealth Games, Continental Games and Continental Championships titles in the 800-meter event.

10. Hassan Shehata (Egypt) – Professional Footballers And Coach

A successful football coach, he led the Egyptian national team to unparalleled success. He took the national side on to win three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles in the years 2006, 2008 and 2010. He is the first coach to ever achieve this feat ad one of two coaches to do this in the history of the cup.

Shehata certainly made his mark on the international coaching scene with his achievements and will be revered for his success on the African continent.

11. Tatenda Taibu (Zimbabwe) – Professional Cricket Player

Former cricketer and captain of the Zimbabwe national side. He was well known for his batting skills and leadership on the field. He was a wicketkeeper-batsmen throughout his career. He was 18 years old when he made his debut for Zimbabwe and became the youngest test cricket captain at the time of his appointment, just 20 yeads old. He became the 5th Zimbabwean to score 3000 ODI runs.

Africa has produced some greats across many different sporting disciplines. These athletes have gone on to impress with the sporting records and social development beyond their respective sports. A continent that continues to give birth to sporting greats there is so much to look forward to in future stars.