The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from South Africa

Icon of occuation in country

This page contains a list of the greatest South African Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 16,923 Soccer Players, 50 of which were born in South Africa. This makes South Africa the birth place of the 53rd most number of Soccer Players behind Ecuador and Egypt.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary South African Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous South African Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of South African Soccer Players.

Photo of Bruce Grobbelaar

1. Bruce Grobbelaar (1957 - )

With an HPI of 60.02, Bruce Grobbelaar is the most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages on wikipedia.

Bruce David Grobbelaar (born 6 October 1957) is a Zimbabwean former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper, most prominently for English team Liverpool between 1981 and 1994, and for the Zimbabwean national team. He is remembered for his gymnastic-like athletic ability, unflappable confidence and eccentric and flamboyant style of play. He has been the goalkeeper coach for Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League since 2014. In March 2018 he was announced as goalkeeper coach for the Matabeleland football team.Born in South Africa, Grobbelaar grew up in neighbouring Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe), and served in the Rhodesian Army before he joined the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League in 1979. He gained Liverpool's attention during a loan spell at Crewe Alexandra during the 1979–80 season, and signed for the Merseyside club in 1981. Making 628 appearances for Liverpool over the next 13 years, including 440 in the League, he won the League championship with the club six times, as well as three FA Cups, three League Cups and the 1983–84 European Cup. Grobbelaar left Liverpool for Southampton in 1994, transferred to Plymouth Argyle two years later, and thereafter played for an assortment of English lower-league teams, never for more than a few games.

Photo of Steven Pienaar

2. Steven Pienaar (1982 - )

With an HPI of 54.88, Steven Pienaar is the 2nd most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Steven Jerome Pienaar (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈstivən ˈpinɑːr]; born 17 March 1982) is a South African former professional footballer and current assistant coach at Dutch amateur club SV Robinhood and Trainee Coach at the academy of AFC Ajax. He was a captain of the South African national team. He primarily played as a winger, but also played as an attacking midfielder. Pienaar played at club level in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, and England for Ajax Cape Town, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Bidvest Wits. Pienaar is currently serving as an international ambassador at former club Everton.

Photo of Benni McCarthy

3. Benni McCarthy (1977 - )

With an HPI of 53.66, Benni McCarthy is the 3rd most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Benedict Saul "Benni" McCarthy (born 12 November 1977) is a South African coach and former footballer who was appointed head coach of the Durban based PSL team, AmaZulu Football Club on 14 December 2020.McCarthy is the South Africa national team's all-time top scorer with 31 goals. He is also the only South African to win the UEFA Champions League, doing so with Porto in 2003–04.

Photo of Dimas

4. Dimas (1969 - )

With an HPI of 53.58, Dimas is the 4th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Dimas Manuel Marques Teixeira (born 16 February 1969), known simply as Dimas, is a Portuguese former footballer who played as a left back. In a 15-year senior career he represented both Benfica and Sporting in his country, also having stints in four other nations, most notably with Juventus in Italy. Having played nearly 45 times for Portugal, Dimas represented the nation in two European Championships.

Photo of Siphiwe Tshabalala

5. Siphiwe Tshabalala (1984 - )

With an HPI of 53.15, Siphiwe Tshabalala is the 5th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Lawrence Siphiwe Tshabalala (; born 25 September 1984) is a South African professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for AmaZulu. Tshabalala being one of the most well known and most decorated South African footballers of his generation, was the first player to make his international debut while still playing in the National First Division. At 90 caps, he is the second most capped player of the South African national team and played at three African Cup of Nations editions and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, at which he scored the first goal on 11 June 2010 which was nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award. Tshabalala is a winger but has played other midfielder roles.

Photo of Mark González

6. Mark González (1984 - )

With an HPI of 52.40, Mark González is the 6th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Mark Dennis González Hoffmann (born 10 July 1984) is a retired Chilean former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. He played top flight football in Chile, Russia, Spain, Brazil and England. He was described by José Mari Bakero, the sporting director of Real Sociedad, one of his former clubs, as "fast and explosive, the classic left winger but with technical discipline", while he claimed himself that his speed was his greatest asset.He made his international debut in 2003, and was selected from Chile for three Copa América tournaments and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, winning the Copa América Centenario.

Photo of Phil Masinga

7. Phil Masinga (1969 - 2019)

With an HPI of 51.90, Phil Masinga is the 7th most famous South African Soccer Player.  Her biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Philemon Raul Masinga (28 June 1969 – 13 January 2019) was a South African professional footballer and manager who played as a striker from 1990 to 2002. He played in the English Premier League for Leeds United, and Italian Serie A for Salernitana and Bari. He also played for Jomo Cosmos, Mamelodi Sundowns with his cousin Bennett Masinga, St. Gallen and Al-Wahda. He represented South Africa in 58 international games, scoring 18 goals. In 2006, he briefly went into football management with PJ Stars.

Photo of Hans Vonk

8. Hans Vonk (1970 - )

With an HPI of 50.58, Hans Vonk is the 8th most famous South African Soccer Player.  Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Johannes Adrianus "Hans" Vonk (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈɦans ˈfɔŋk]; born 30 January 1970) is a retired South African professional football goalkeeper of Dutch parentage who last played for Ajax Cape Town FC.

Photo of Matthew Booth

9. Matthew Booth (1977 - )

With an HPI of 49.86, Matthew Booth is the 9th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Matthew Paul Booth (born 14 March 1977) is a former South African professional footballer who played as a defender. Booth spent the majority of his career in his home country, but also played in Russia for six years and briefly played in England for three months. Booth is remembered as a fan favourite among South African fans, who chanted "Booooooth" when he touched the ball, while British media outlets dubbed him as "The White Knight", as he was the only white player in the South African national team in this period.

Photo of Pierre Issa

10. Pierre Issa (1975 - )

With an HPI of 49.47, Pierre Issa is the 10th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Pierre Sanharib Issa (Arabic: بيير عيسى‎; born 11 September 1975) is a South African former professional footballer who played as a defender. He is the current sporting director of the Greek side Olympiacos. Born in South Africa, Issa is of Lebanese descent.

Pantheon has 50 people classified as soccer players born between 1957 and 1998. Of these 50, 46 (92.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Bruce Grobbelaar, Steven Pienaar, and Benni McCarthy. The most famous deceased soccer players include Phil Masinga, Jacob Lekgetho, and Anele Ngcongca. As of October 2020, 5 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Jacob Lekgetho, Craig Johnston, and Andre Arendse.

Living Soccer Players

Go to all Rankings

Deceased Soccer Players

Go to all Rankings

Newly Added Soccer Players (2020)

Go to all Rankings

Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 4 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.