Portal:Football in Africa

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Football in Africa

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Association football is probably the most popular sport played in Africa. The continent's governing body is the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and all member states except Réunion and Zanzibar are affiliate members of FIFA.

Compared to other continents, the general standard of football in Africa is quite low due to a lack of sponsorship and investment in its various domestic league and cup competitions. Only 13 of the 56 CAF member associations have ever made it to the FIFA World Cup, and of these 13 only Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal have ever reached the quarter-finals. In 2010, South Africa became the first African nation to host the tournament.

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Currently, the top continental club championship in Africa is the annual CAF Champions League, whose record title-holders are Egyptian giants Al Ahly, who have lifted the trophy 8 times, doing so most recently in 2013. The CAF Confederation Cup is the continent's other annual championship, and has been won a record 3 times by Tunisian club CS Sfaxien, their most recent victory also coming in 2013. The winners of these two competitions face each other at the beginning of every year for the CAF Super Cup.

The continent's top international championship is the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN), which is held every two years and contested by 16 national teams that advance from the qualification phase of the tournament. The continent's other international championship is the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which follows the same format as the CAN but can only contested by players in the respective countries' domestic championships.

Selected article

Nigeria national football team during a match against Catalonia
The Nigeria national football team, nicknamed the "Super Eagles" or previously the "Green Eagles", represents Nigeria in international association football and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

During April 1994, the Super Eagles ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest ranking achieved by an African football team. They won their third continental title in 2013, and have qualified for five of the last six FIFA World Cups, reaching the round of 16 three times. They made their first appearance at the tournament in the United States in 1994.

Selected picture

South African fans on the streets of Johannesburg before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Credit: ABr

Fans of the South Africa national team celebrate with vuvuzelas on the streets of Johannesburg as they await the beginning of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The vuvuzela is a plastic horn which produces a loud monotone note, and has been the subject of controversy when used by spectators at football matches.

Selected biography

Steven Pienaar with Everton in 2009
Steven Pienaar is a South African professional footballer who plays for English club Sunderland and was captain of the South African national team until October 2012. Pienaar primarily plays as a winger. He can play on either the right or left wing and as an attacking midfielder.

Pienaar began his professional career at Ajax Cape Town, some 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) away from his home in Johannesburg. He was brought to the attention of Ajax CT whilst playing for the School of Excellence and was asked to join their youth academy. At the age 18, he moved to the Netherlands to join Ajax in January 2001 but did not make his Eredivisie début until 24 February 2002 – in a 1–0 victory over NAC Breda. He became a pivotal member of the Ajax team that won the Dutch League in 2002 and 2004.

In January 2006, German club Borussia Dortmund signed Pienaar on a three-year contract from Ajax. Seen as a replacement for Arsenal-bound Tomáš Rosický, Pienaar's first year with Borussia Dortmund saw him receive the number 10 shirt vacated by the Czech playmaker. Pienaar struggled at Dortmund and never felt truly accepted by the other players at the club. He then joined Everton on loan for 2007–08 and later signed a three-year contract from Dortmund for a pre-agreed fee of £2 million after payment of an initial loan fee of £350,000 in April 2008.

In January 2011, both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur had bids accepted to buy Pienaar from Everton before the South African joined Spurs for a fee of £3 million on a four-year contract. His spell at Tottenham was characterised by persistent injuries and not much impact in games which resulted him rarely featuring in the team. Late on transfer deadline day in January 2012, Pienaar completed a return to Everton on a six-month loan deal. A permanent transfer was agreed in July 2012, with Everton paying Tottenham Hotspur a fee of £4.5 million.


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