Benni McCarthy, the 2010 World Cup and the LaLiga office… we find out just what ties exist between LaLiga and the African nation.
Benni McCarthy is the most iconic South African footballer to have played in our league. The striker spent four years at RC Celta, where in his debut season he notched a total of eight goals. Of this tally, the brace he netted against Juventus in the Europa League will stay long in the memory. He is also the South African national team’s all-time top goalscorer.
Johannesburg holds a special place in the history of Spanish football as the city in which Spain were crowned world champions for the very first time at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. 116 minutes of the Spain vs Holland showdown had been played when Andres Iniesta popped up to fire home the extra-time goal which sent millions of Spaniards into dreamland.
Tuesday 24 November 2015 saw the opening of the LaLiga office in Johannesburg, marking the organisation’s first representation in the African continent. “It’s an historic day for LaLiga. We’re very happy to be opening this office in Johannesburg, which brings us closer to our broadcasters, and in particular, to the fans. From LaLiga’s perspective, being here is a strategic move, and in the future we would like to further strengthen our presence here,” declared Javier Tebas.
Whilst Benni McCarthy might have been the most iconic South African to have graced our league, there are other players from across the African continent that have played in LaLiga. South African international midfielder Quinton Fortune is just another example. After a spell with RCD Mallorca, Fortune moved to Atletico Madrid in the 1996/97 campaign, before joining Manchester United in 1999/00 season.
Thanks to the centralisation of the television rights, South African fans of Spanish football can enjoy Liga BBVA action each and every weekend. The official broadcaster in South Africa is Supersport, who broadcast LaLiga games to over 50 countries across the African continent, in what is another marker of the success of LaLiga’s internationalisation strategy.