Potchefstroom is known as the North-West Province’s “Home of Sport”. The provincial headquarters of 17 of the most important sports are situated in the city. The City Council places a high priority on the establishment, maintenance and upgrading of the sport facilities under its control, especially to meet the variety of sporting and recreational needs of its youthful community. The Mooi River trails as well as other trails add extra colour and variety to these facilities available to resident and tourist alike.
Potchefstroom has played host to two world cup winning teams, cricket and football respectively, and has thus become the home away from home to many international athletes and teams. Potchefstroom is the only place in the world with a perfect balance between altitude training and quality training at 1400m. The fact that Potch (shortened name) has no large scale factories it has very clean air. The city also boasts with one of the lowest crime rates in South Africa. All of this is perfect for international athletes. Athletes and professional sports teams train at the HPI (High Performance Institute of Sport) of the North West University
Cricket is a very popular sport with Senwes Park being the Home of Cricket for the Highveld Lions. Potchefstroom hosted matches during the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup between Australia and the Netherlands, Australia and Namibia, and also between South Africa and Kenya. Potchefstroom were also co-hosts for the 2009 Cricket World Cup Qualifier. The Proteas chooses Potchefstroom on a regular basis as their destination for off season training camps. And, from time to time Potchefstroom will also play host to the Australians during off season cricket camps. During the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup, Australia’s cricket team chose Potchefstroom as their home base. They also went on to win the World Cup.
Rugby is arguably the most popular sport in Potchefstroom. Olën Park is the main rugby stadium and is mostly used for Rugby Union matches by the Leopards Rugby Union in the first division of the Currie Cup, as well as the Vodacom Cup.
The stadium is also used for football matches and has hosted a few matches for the South Africa under-23 football team. Jomo Cosmos, a PSL team, recently relegated to NFD also uses the stadium to host some of their matches.
Profert Olën Park was named after Carl Ludwig Theodor Olën who was the President of the Western Transvaal Rugby Union during the period 1922 to 1934. In recent times a local fertilizer company situated in Potchefstroom, Profert has been contributing not only financially but also with their products and expertise, towards the upkeep of the playing field and as thus obtained the naming rights of the stadium.
There is also the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds located on the North West University. The main rugby field on the sports grounds have also seen a few games of the Leopards. It also plays host to the PUK’s (NWU) Varsity Cup matches which always sees a full house of locals and students supporting the Pukke (NWU) rugby team.
Kenneth McArthur Stadium is the local athletics stadium. The stadium, which received its fourth ‘make-over’ in 2014, was erected in 1892 and the oval was named after Kenneth McArthur, the Potchefstroom policeman who was awarded a gold medal for winning the marathon at the 1912 Olympic Games.
Potchefstroom has produced numerous other famous sports people as well. Some include: Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, silver medal winner in long jump at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Hezekiél Sepeng, Jorrie Muller, Justine Robbeson and Ryan Diedericks.
The visit of the Spanish team “La Roja” during the FIFA 2010 World Cup introduced a new level of sporting exposure to Potchefstroom and the NWU. The Spanish national football team, who went on to win their first ever FIFA World cup title, chose Potchefstroom to be their base camp for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. To prepare for the team a new sporting complex was built at the North West University and the local airport was extended to host large passenger planes to land.
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