Money and football have become so synonymous that the best clubs in most leagues are usually accused of ‘buying the title’ because their financial muscle makes it harder for other teams to compete.
This claim is somewhat valid in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), where the money and resulting player pull of a club like Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs outdo the rest of the field.
These clubs are also owned by wealthy individuals whose cash injection boosts their financial base.
Case in point, Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe has an estimated net worth, according to Forbes, of $2.8 billion. He can pump more money and woo sponsors into doing business with Sundowns and thus their riches.
Higher player pull means that the richest football teams in South Africa have the talent needed to win titles, further contributing to a club’s riches.
For example, for the 2021/22 PSL season, total prize money of R39.9 million was on offer. The winning team pocketed R15 million, the first runner-up R7.5 million, and the second runners-up R3.75 million.
These teams also tend to compete in continental competitions, which offer vast amounts of prize money. The CAF Champions League, for instance, has total prize money of $12.25 million, with the winner getting $2.5 million and the second-best team $1.25 million. Semi-finalists, quarter-finalists, and group stage third and fourth finishers also get a cut.
Without further ado, here are the richest soccer teams in South Africa.
10 Richest Football Teams in South Africa
1. Mamelodi Sundowns – $11 million
Mamelodi Sundowns is the richest soccer team in South Africa, with an estimated net worth of $11 million. The club is based in Pretoria, South Africa, and owned by the current Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe.
The billionaire purchased the club in 2004 after he bought out the remaining stake, 49%, from the Tsichlas family, as he had a 51% stake.
His era as the owner of Mamelodi Sundowns, which he renamed after his takeover, has been very successful, having won nine of their 12 titles during his reign.
After Orlando Pirates, they’ve become the second club in South Africa to win the CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup.
The club plays its home matches at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
2. Kaizer Chiefs – $9.1 million
Kaizer Chiefs, better known as the Amakhosi, ranks second as the richest team in South Africa, with a net worth of $9.1 million. It is also the most successful, having won over 93 titles.
However, the club last won the league in 2015 under the stewardship of Stuart Baxter, and attempts to reclaim its lost glory have since proved futile. Arthur Zwane has finally been given the top job after years of serving as an assistant coach and could deliver the PSL trophy and end the clubs’ seven-year title drought.
Founder Kaizer Motaung, from whom it derives its name, owns the club. It’s been the home of some of the biggest names in South African football while nurturing talent through its academy.
3. SuperSport United – $7.9 million
SuperSport United ranks third as the richest football team in South Africa, with a net worth of $7.9 million. MultiChoice, the company that also operates the pan-African television channel, Supersport, owns the club.
Matsatsantsa, as it is fondly called, hosts its home matches at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atridegville. The club has a couple of titles to its name.
During the reign of Gavin Hunt, the team won three PSL titles in 2007/08, 2008/09, and 2009/10. He also led the club to win the Nedbank Cup in 2012.
4. Orlando Pirates – $6.9 million
With a valuation of $6.9 million, Orlando Pirates is one of the wealthiest football teams in South Africa. Irvin Khoza owns it and has been at its helm since 1991.
The Johannesburg club goes by the nickname Buccaneers. Their home stadium is Orlando Stadium, with a capacity of 37,000 people.
Buccaneers is considered one of the league’s biggest teams, rivaled by Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns. Their trophy cabinet perhaps justifies this as they have clinched nine PSL titles, with four coming in the PSL era.
5. Royal AM FC
Royal AM owner Shawn Mkhize and his son Andile Mpisane, the clubs’ chairman, stepped into the PSL in style by purchasing the now-defunct Bloemfontein Celtic for reportedly a fee of R50 million in 2019.
Mkhize is estimated to have a net worth of R300 million or $20 million, and thus, her cash injections have helped Royal AM become one of the most valuable clubs in South Africa. Although the net worth of the club is not known, its value is 7.13 million euros,
The club plays at Chatsworth Stadium, Durban.
6. Marumo Gallants – $6.9 million
Marumo Gallants might be a relatively new outfit in the league, but they are no pushover in their financial standing. It is one of the wealthiest teams in South Africa, with a net worth is $6.9 million.
Formerly Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila Football Club (TTM), which bought out Bidvest Wits, the club is under the stewardship of Abram Sello, who bought the club in 2021.
Marumo, also known as Bahlabane Ba Ntwa, is located in Limpopo and plays its home games at the Peter Makoba Stadium.
7. Cape Town City FC – $5.8 million
Cape Town City makes it into the list of the richest soccer teams in South Africa, with a net worth of about $5.8 million. This stat is a relief for The Citizens, who have faced a lot of financial turbulence over the years.
It was previously called the Mpumalanga Aces but rebranded in 2016 to Cape Town City after its owner, John Comitis, purchased the club. It’s located in Cape Town and plays its matches in Athlone Stadium.
8. Chippa United – $4.4 million
Owned by Chippa Investment Holdings and based in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, Chippa United is also one of the richest soccer teams in South Africa. Chippa United hosts its home games at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, coached by Kurt Lentjies.
9. Lamontville Golden Arrows – $6.5 million
Golden Arrows is now one of the richest teams in South Africa, with a valuation of $6.5 million. This valuation is a stark contrast to where the team was some years back when it was relegated and banned from the now-defunct National Professional Soccer League.
The team was reconstituted again and stepped up to the first division in 2000, and nine years later, it clinched its first major title after hammering Cape Town City 6-0 in the MTN8 final.
Golden Arrows, also known as Abafana Bes’thende, uses the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban as its home ground.
10. Amazulu FC – $9.3 million
Amazulu FC, or Ushuthu, is one of the richest teams in South Africa, with a net worth of approximately $9.3 million. The club is located in Umlazi, Durban, and plays its home game in the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Sandile Zungu bought the club in 2020 from Patrick Sokhela to complete a 14-year process. The businessman has an estimated net worth of $13 million, and he’s already talking big. He aims to make Amazulu the biggest club in South Africa by 2032.