The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from South Africa

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This page contains a list of the greatest South African Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 21,273 Soccer Players, 55 of which were born in South Africa. This makes South Africa the birth place of the 53rd most number of Soccer Players behind Morocco, 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 (b. 1957)

With an HPI of 52.68, Bruce Grobbelaar is the most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 27 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, as well as his rushing ability, which has led pundits to compare him retrospectively to the sweeper-keepers of the modern era. 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. He was appointed as goalkeeper coach for Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League in 2014. In March 2018 he was announced as goalkeeper coach for the Matabeleland football team.

Photo of Benni McCarthy

2. Benni McCarthy (b. 1977)

With an HPI of 44.03, Benni McCarthy is the 2nd most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Benedict Saul McCarthy (born 12 November 1977) is a South African football coach and former player who is a first-team coach at Manchester United. He previously worked as head coach of South African Premier Division team AmaZulu. A former forward, McCarthy is the South Africa national team's all-time top scorer with 31 goals. He is also the only South African to have won the UEFA Champions League, doing so with Porto in 2003–04.

Photo of Gordon Hodgson

3. Gordon Hodgson (1904 - 1951)

With an HPI of 43.82, Gordon Hodgson is the 3rd most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Gordon Hodgson (16 April 1904 – 14 June 1951) was a professional sportsman, born in Transvaal Colony, who is best known as a striker for Liverpool and as a fast bowler for Lancashire. He won two international caps for South Africa and three for England. Hodgson signed for Liverpool on 14 December 1925, going on to score 241 goals in 377 appearances for the Anfield club. He transferred to Aston Villa on 8 January 1936 and scored 11 goals in 28 appearances for the Villans, before joining Leeds United in March 1937, scoring 53 goals in 85 appearances for the Elland Road club. In total, Hodgson scored 305 goals in 490 appearances for his three English clubs, 295 of which came in 467 games in the Football League, with the other ten coming in the FA Cup from 23 appearances. He was appointed Port Vale manager in 1946, a position he would hold until he died in 1951.

Photo of Dimas

4. Dimas (b. 1969)

With an HPI of 43.47, Dimas is the 4th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 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 CP 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 Steven Pienaar

5. Steven Pienaar (b. 1982)

With an HPI of 42.69, Steven Pienaar is the 5th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Steven Jerome Pienaar (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈstivən ˈpinɑːr]; born 17 March 1982) is a South African former professional footballer and current coach of the U14 team of Sharjah FC in the United Arab Emirates. He hails from Westbury, a suburb in Johannesburg's Westrand. 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 Phil Masinga

6. Phil Masinga (1969 - 2019)

With an HPI of 41.45, Phil Masinga is the 6th most famous South African Soccer Player.  Her biography has been translated into 21 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 was born in Khuma in the city of Matlosana formerly known as Klerksdorp Municipality. 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 Lucas Radebe

7. Lucas Radebe (b. 1969)

With an HPI of 41.28, Lucas Radebe is the 7th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Lucas Valeriu Ntuba Radebe OIS (born 12 April 1969) is a South African former professional footballer who played as a centre back. He began playing in South Africa with Kaizer Chiefs, before transferring to Leeds United, where he played 262 matches for the Yorkshire side. During his spells at these clubs, he picked up the nicknames "Rhoo" and "The Chief". He became captain of Leeds United and also of the South African national team, most notably at 2002 FIFA World Cup. Nelson Mandela said of Radebe: "This is my hero." He also captained Kaizer Chiefs during his time at Chiefs.

Photo of Siphiwe Tshabalala

8. Siphiwe Tshabalala (b. 1984)

With an HPI of 40.91, Siphiwe Tshabalala is the 8th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Lawrence Siphiwe Dambuza Tshabalala (; born 25 September 1984) is a South African professional football player who most recently played as a midfielder for AmaZulu. He is considered to be one of the most well-known and decorated South African soccer players of his generation. He 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, who was recently released by Amazulu FC, is a winger but has played other midfielder roles.

Photo of Mark González

9. Mark González (b. 1984)

With an HPI of 40.09, Mark González is the 9th most famous South African Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Mark Dennis González Hoffmann (born 10 July 1984) is a 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 Hans Vonk

10. Hans Vonk (b. 1970)

With an HPI of 40.05, Hans Vonk is the 10th 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.

People

Pantheon has 81 people classified as South African soccer players born between 1904 and 2000. Of these 81, 74 (91.36%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living South African soccer players include Bruce Grobbelaar, Benni McCarthy, and Dimas. The most famous deceased South African soccer players include Gordon Hodgson, Phil Masinga, and John Moshoeu. As of April 2024, 26 new South African soccer players have been added to Pantheon including John Moshoeu, Doctor Khumalo, and Mark Fish.

Living South African Soccer Players

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Deceased South African Soccer Players

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Newly Added South African Soccer Players (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 7 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.