Football in South Africa – The History Starting in 1862

Football or as South African’s calls it, soccer, now one of the most popular sports forms in the country and leads the way in sports betting. The long history of the sport in the country can be traced back all the way to 1862.

The first football matches ever documented in the country took place in Cape Town between the soldiers and the White Civil Servants. The next documented matches were only recorded a few years later in 1879 when the Pietermaritzburg Country Football Club was established. In 1880 there is documentation to prove that both Indian and African soccer clubs were active in Johannesburg and Durban, and in 1882 the Natal Football Association appeared on the scene. FASA the South African Football Association was only formed in 1862 followed by SAFA the English Football Association in 1895.

The Transvaal Indian Football Association was formed by several Indian football clubs in 1896, and the Corinthians an English amateur soccer team toured South Africa for the first time in 1897. They returned in 1903 as well as 1906. Additional football clubs were formed in 1898 including the Bantu Football Club of the Orange Free State. This was the very first team to play and represent South Africa in Europe. The Kaffir Football Team launched in 1899 and played over fifty games in Wales, England, France, Scotland, and Ireland. The captain was Joseph Twayi who later became part of the Native National Congress.

More Clubs, Teams & International Soccer Matches

The Bush Bucks soccer clubs established in Durban in 1902, which was also around the time that SAIFA the SA Indian Football Association was formed in Kimberly. In 1906 South Africa’s soccer team toured South America, and in 1910 the FIFA Football Association accepted South Africa as its first association outside Europe. In 1920, South Africa welcomed the English Football Association amateur side in the country, and the South African team toured Britain in 1924.

Scottish Motherwell Team Tours South Africa

The Scottish professional side knew at the time as Motherwell toured the country in 1931 and returned in 1934, while the Bakers Cup national tournament was launched in 1932 in South Africa. The SA Bantu Football Associations and the South African Coloured Football Association were formed in 1935. It included coloured, Indian and African players and formed the Inter-Race Soccer Board of Transvaal with the Suzman Cup being the first inter-racial tournament. The Godfrey Challenge Cup was added in 1936, and in 1937 the Orlando Pirates Football Club was launched, while the Bakers Cup became the Moroka-Baloyi Cup.

Bantu Sports Club

In 1940 a few games were arranged by the Inter Race Soccer Board. Unfortunately, it is also the year in which a referee was killed by spectators in Johannesburg at the Bantu Sports Club. In 1944 the club received sponsorship from the African National Congress, and only two years later Albert Luthuli established the Natal Inter-Race board.