South Africa is a proud and passionate sporting nation with talented athletes and loyal supporters, and it’s no surprise that many of our stars have massive Twitter followings.
It’s not only their athletic prowess that makes them internationally recognised names, but rather the prolific way in which they’ve used this new platform to reach out to the fans and give back to them by interacting on a more personal platform.
Here are some interesting sports stars to add to your feed.
Kudos to whoever it was who suggested to Bakkies that he get on Twitter. We certainly don’t think we would have had the courage to explain to him that he’s supposed to share his thoughts with complete strangers in under 140 characters.
It’s an unlikely match, but that’s what makes it all the more interesting and enjoyable. The Springbok hard man uploads pictures of life in France, meetings with his South African mates, close-ups of his injuries and his beloved hunting in an earnest window into his life as a professional rugby player.
Like your hip grandmother who ‘gets’ Facebook, so does South African golfing icon Gary Player simply ‘get’ Twitter. He is also showing no signs of slowing down, despite being 78 years old, and takes to social media with all the energy and enthusiasm he‘s shown throughout his exemplary lifetime.
Buckle up as he takes us with him around the world, designing golf courses, relentlessly raising funds for the underprivileged, breeding world-class racehorses on his farm in Colesberg, all the while keeping in contact with players on various golfing tours around the world. Knowing he squeezes in 1 000 sit-ups every morning is an inspiration to all to do more with our lives.
When you’re standing at the striker’s end, watching Dale Steyn race towards you with that look of murderous intent in his eyes, he must seem like the devil incarnate come to reap his vengeance upon you. The rest of the time Dale Steyn is simply one hell of a nice guy.
He loves his dogs, surfing, taking photos and hanging out with his mates. He’s also kind enough to share that with over 600 000 followers on Twitter. Like his bowling, he shows no signs of slowing down!
Playing a starring role for a high-flying Premier League side affords football players something akin to rock star status. Watching the antics of some of the footballers in the league, it’s clear that the fame and fortune can bring out some frivolous behaviour.
That’s what makes ‘South African-boytjie-made-good’ Steven Pienaar’s unshakeable faith and good guy personality so refreshing. His honest presence make his a great addition to your Twitter feed – even if you’re a Liverpool fan.
We associate sports stars on Twitter with five-digit followings and superstardom, but professional golfer LeeAnne Pace is a wonderful example of the personality behind the athlete.
She takes you inside the ropes as she travels the globe competing on the world’s toughest golf courses against the competitors of the Ladies European Tour and LPA tours.
You’ll be rooting for LeeAnne to shoot low scores and win golf tournaments as she continues to do South Africa proud on the international stage.
The Springbok flyer and consummate professional is a shining example to all South Africans on and off the field. The record try-scorer is as adept on social media as he is under a high ball or running onto a skipped pass-out to him on the wing.
Habana is quick to share images and insights from his high-flying team of stars at Toulon in France or when he joins up with Heyneke Meyer’s Springboks. He gives you a red-hot all-access pass to the life of role model, sports star, spiritual being and family man that is Bryan Habana.
His interactions with famous personalities from all walks of life, giving back to his fans and links to premier sporting and lifestyle brands make Habana a key player on the South African Twitter scene.
Image: Bryan Habana celebrates his team’s victory during the international match between Scotland and South Africa at Murrayfield Stadium on 17 November 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images.