Soccer is the most popular sport in every African country. Although people were introduced to this sport in the mid-19th century, it really began evolving during the 1950s. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) was started in this century. This organisation now has 54 full members and two associate members, but when it was established in 1957 only Sudan, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Egypt were part of it. There are now countless great soccer clubs across the continent, and here are some interesting stories about them that you might not know.
The Time When Tanzania’s Richest Man Bought a Football Club
In Europe there is a huge trend of wealthy people buying football clubs, and people in Africa are starting to follow it. Mohammed Dewji, Africa’s youngest billionaire and the richest man in Tanzania, bought a 49% stake in Simba Sports Club in 2017 with the goal of transforming it into one of the best football teams on the continent. He already began his plan of investing in infrastructure and hiring better players.
Many football clubs have seen quite a transformation after being acquired by wealthy people. Although it takes a lot of money, some people dream their whole life of buying a soccer team and do it the first chance they get. You’ll likely see this happening across Africa more often.
In fact, even a Powerball winner from Cape Town expressed his desire to buy a soccer team with his R64 million prize that he won in 2018. This wouldn’t be the first time a lottery winner did something like this. There are already various lottery winners’ football clubs that exist today.
This makes sense, since a big investment can go a long way. Spending millions to build a better stadium and training grounds, hire a better coach, and acquire better players is the key to success in soccer today.
Mahatma Gandhi Founded Three Soccer Clubs in South Africa
Before he helped India in its struggle for independence and inspired millions of people across the world, Mahatma Gandhi worked as a lawyer in South Africa. He moved to the country after studying law in England, where he became familiar with football. After seeing how people of colour were treated in Africa at the time, Gandhi came to the idea of using football to unite masses and promote his ideas of passive resistance to them.
The famous anti-colonial nationalist helped set up three football clubs in South Africa while he was staying there. All three clubs shared the same name – Passive Resisters Soccer Club. They were established in Johannesburg, Durban, and Pretoria. He used soccer matches as an opportunity to distribute pamphlets about racial discrimination to the spectators. To this day, football in both Africa and other continents helps bring people together and inspire them.
The Man Who Sold His Shares Then Bought Them Back
Kaizer Motaung is a former soccer player from South Africa who is the founder, managing director, and chairman of Kaizer Chiefs FC, which is one of the most famous clubs in the country. Even though he established it in 1970, Kaizer lost control of the club when he sold 40% of his shares to Primedia in 2004. At the time, he managed to get R40 million from the deal.
The company expressed that it wanted to focus on their areas of expertise just several years later and were looking to sell the shares. Seeing how much it has grown during this time period, Motaung decided to buy back his stake at the club he started. While the details of this deal are not known to the public, it is believed that Kaizer paid more than R70 million for his shares in 2010.
The History of Chicken Inn FC
Chicken Inn is a football club based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. They play in the top division of the country’s football and have even won the league title in 2015. The club is owned by a fast food brand in Zimbabwe called Chicken Inn. The story behind this soccer club is quite interesting, as it was first started by passionate employees in 1997. Just a few years later, they managed to get affiliated with the Zifa Division Three league.
They got promoted to the Division 2 league in a few years, where they stayed for some time. What started as a team consisted of employees who simply loved the sport turned into a huge success. So much so that they got promoted to the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League in 2011 and have been performing extremely well ever since. This story proves that anything is possible if you’re passionate about something.