10 Sport-Stars With African Roots.

Nationalism has always been an issue in sport. Many sportsmen have abandoned their country of origin for another country, while others, the country of their parents.

In this write-up, a list of some sportsmen with African roots.


Emmanuel Olisadebe (born 22 December 1978), to Nigerian parents, is a retired footballer who played as a striker. He began his career with Jasper United, and went on to have a successful career with Polonia Warsaw and won the Ekstraklasa in 2000, Ekstraklasa Cup, and Polish SuperCup.

He also played in Greece, Cyprus, England, and China. Despite been born in Nigeria, he attracted the attention of the Polish national team after he was eligible for Polish citizenship. He scored 11 international goals in 25 caps between 2000 and 2004 and participated in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Sport-Stars With African Roots


Jose Bosingwa da Silva was born on August 24, 1982, in DR Congo to a Congolese mother and Portuguese father. Bosingwa spent most of his career at Porto and Chelsea winning 13 trophies including the Champions League in 2004 and 2012 with the former and later clubs. He also played 27 times for Portugal as a Right back.


Sport-Stars With African Roots


Kehinde Babatunde Victor Oladipo, Born on May 4, 1992, to a Nigerian parent, the 27-year-old basketball player made his debut with Orlando Magic having been drafted as the 2nd pick. Prior to his professional career, the 6ft 4in NBA star was groomed by his college basketball team, Indiana Hoosiers.

Soon after his professional debut, he would go ahead to emerge as part of the NBA All-Rookie first team. His stay with Orlando Magic lasted three years before he moved to Orlando City Thunder in 2016. His spell there was brief with 2017 seeing him traded to Indiana. He won the NBA Most Improved Player Award in his very first season with Indiana while named to the All-Defensive.

However, Victor soon suffered an injury that would keep him out of action for 11 games before returning into action on December 12, 2018.

In 2019, Oladipo was named in Eastern Conference All-Star reserve for the second consecutive year. He has chosen to represent the United States of America.


Sport-Stars With African Roots

7) Giannis Antetokounmpo

“The Greek Freak! “ Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo was born in Greece to Nigerian parents Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo. His parents left Nigeria 3 years before he was born and found a home in Greece.

Ginannis began his career at Filathlitikos in Athens. He was promoted to the senior team in 2011 before making the NBA draft in 2013, where he was selected 15th overall by the Bucks.

Ginannis is a two-time NBA MVP of the year and was named the NBA defensive player of 2020. He has been representing the Greek basketball team since 2014 and helped them to a ninth-place finish in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World cup. He has also won the 2018 Euroscar European player of the year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Sport-Stars With African Roots


Hailing from the Republic of Congo, the Power Forward, Serge Ibaka is one of the most successful African-born NBA players. He discovered his talent and started a career in basketball at the tender age of 17. The Congolese-Spanish plied his trade in Spain.

Serge has been selected three times as NBA All-Defensive Team, leading the league twice in blocks. In 2016, Ibaka was traded to Orlando Magic where he had a brief spell. Ibaka left the team in that same year when the Toronto Raptors came calling. Despite being of Congo descent, Ibaka represents Spain at the National level, where he won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics.


Sport-Stars With African Roots


Bamidele Jermaine Alli (born on April 11, 1996), to his Nigerian father Kehinde Alli and mother Denise Alli. However, from age 13, he was raised by Alan and Sally Hickford his foster parents due to parental issues(which has made him no longer put Alli behind his jersey as he doesn’t feel any connection to the Alli family name). Dele began to play soccer as a child and signed for Milton Keynes Dons youth team at age 11 and made his professional debut in 2012. He signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2015. Dele is an England International with 37 caps and 3 goals.



Henry Adetokunboh Akinwande,(born 12 October 1965), to Nigerian parents, is a British former professional boxer who competed from 1989 to 2008.

He held the WBO heavyweight title from 1996 to 1997, the Commonwealth heavyweight title in 1993, and the European heavyweight title from 1993 to 1994. He fought 55 times in his career, W50 times(30 by KO), L 5, and D 1.


Sport-Stars With African Roots


Patrick Vieira is a former French footballer who was born on June 23, 1976, in Dakar, Senegal. Vieira along with his family moved from Senegal to Dreux (in France) when he was just eight years old.

He began his career with Cannes at the age of 17. He moved to AC Milian a year later but made only two appearances. In 1996, he moved to Arsenal where he spent 10years, winning 9 titles. He also played for Juventus, Inter Milan, and Manchester City.

He chose to play for France and was capped 107 times, scoring 6 goals. He was part of their squad when they won FIFA World Cup in 1998, UEFA Euro Championship in 2000.


Sport-Stars With African Roots


Roger Federer was born on the 8th of August 1981 to Lynette Federer (née Durand) Afrikaner mother, and his father His Swiss father, Robert Federer. Roger Federer is ranked 5th in the world and has also won 20 grand-slam titles. He led Switzerland to its first David cup title in 2014.


Sport-Stars With African Roots


Claude Makélélé Sinda was born 18 February 1973, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Makélélé is a former French footballer (71 caps and won Silver at the 2006 World Cup) who has played for clubs such as Chelsea, Celta de Vigo, Real Madrid, and others before going on to end his playing career with Paris Saint-Germain. After that, the legendary midfielder turned to coaching and has since 2017, been the head coach of the Belgian First Division A team, Eupen. In 2019, he became the technical mentor of Chelsea FC.

He is regarded as one of the greatest ever players in his position, Makélélé has been credited with redefining the defensive midfield role in English football, especially during the 2004–05 FA Premier League season, where he played a key role in helping Chelsea win the title with 95 points. In homage, the defensive midfield position is sometimes colloquially known as the “Makelele Role”.


Sport-Stars With African Roots

Which of these guys did you not know about? Comment below.


  1. https://sportsicles.com/top-10-african-basketball-players-in-the-nba/
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Vieira
  3. https://www.netbet.ng/blog/top-active-nba-players-of-african-descent/
  4. https://theargusreport.com/south-africa-roots-run-deep/

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