Representing South Africa and the UK
The former British colony of South Africa was heavily influenced sports-wise. Amongst the popular sports in the country that takes up the southern tip of the continent are football, rugby and cricket. In fact, they fend very well for themselves in all three sports. In cricket, which originated as a popular English-speaking community sport in South Africa, the nation is one of the top teams in the world. They are so good that they have exported quite a few cricket players to English soil, amongst them Jade Dernbach, Michael Lumb and Jason Roy.
Other popular South African athletes that have migrated to the UK include British tennis players Kyle Edmund, who also happens to be a Davis Cup champion, and quite a handful of football players. Just recently, South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup, where Spain became champion for the first time ever. The African team was eliminated in the first round and they failed to qualify for the following World Cup which took place in Brazil in 2014. It is yet to be determined whether they will be performing at the Russian World Cup in 2018. However, the team is steady and important and they have plenty of football players that have been exported to the UK.
Perhaps amongst the most famous ones are Steven Pienaar who has played for Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland and Benni McCarthy, who played for West Ham United. But it’s not only South African football players who have achieved stardom in the UK. Kevin Pietersen is a South African born former English captain for the English National Cricket Team, Lucas Radebe sported the Leeds United jersey, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen are both internationally acclaimed South-African born golfers, as well.
When it comes to rugby, a sport originating in the UK and exported to all its former colonies, South Africa does not lag behind. The country is one of the top renowned worldwide, having beaten the New Zealand All Blacks back in 1995 when they first debuted in a Rugby World Cup. In fact, a handful of South African rugby players have represented both SA and a UK country. Frank Mellish has played for both England and South Africa, whereas John Allan represented his country of origin and Scotland. Jack Gage played for both Ireland and South Africa, as well. It’s tough to deny the ever-growing sporting relation between South Africa and the United Kingdom, and it is one that will continue to develop as the ties between countries continue to be forged for a better future.