In September 1899 an association football team from Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, South Africa, arrived in the United Kingdom. The team comprised 16 black South Africans who played under the auspices of the whites-only Orange Free State Football Association and was the first ever South African football team to tour abroad. In a four-month tour the team played 49 matches against opposition in England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A small but growing body of work focuses on black sport and football in particular and the 1899 tour is referred to in passing in a few publications, although none have attempted to uncover details of the team or the matches that were played in Europe. This article attempts to do this by drawing on a range of sources in South Africa and the United Kingdom and argues the case for the significance of this team for football history in general and South African sports history in particular.
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published in Bolsmann, C 2011, 'The 1899 Orange Free State football team tour of Europe: 'race', imperial loyalty and sporting contest', International journal of the history of sport, vol 28, no. 1, pp. 81-97. International journal of the history of sport is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0952-3367&volume=28&issue=1&spage=81
- South African War
- imperial sport
- Orange Free State
- black football