Anthropometric variables and physical fitness characteristics of male South African semi-professional footballers

  • Marc J. Booysen
  • David Bentel
  • Khavish Harry
  • Philippe J-L. Gradidge
Keywords: Soccer, Physiological performance, Sub-elite, Africa, Fitness


The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to gain an understanding of the anthropometric and physical fitness characteristics of a group of competitive, semi-professional footballers during their pre-season training period. One hundred and twenty-four Division Two footballers from the ABC Motsepe League, Gauteng, South Africa, participated in this study. Body mass index (BMI) and performance data (upper body explosive strength, counter-movement jump, Illinois agility test [with ball], 30m-sprint, and intermittent endurance running were collected. Goalkeepers were heavier (p<0.001), had greater BMI (p<0.05) and had greater absolute upper body power values (p<0.001) than outfield positions. Strikers were shorter than defenders and goalkeepers (p<0.05). Additionally, outfield positions ran further than goalkeepers in the intermittent running test (p<0.001). Midfielders tended to be slower over the 30m-sprint compared to other positions (p=0.07). A few anthropometric and physical fitness characteristics according to playing position varied, some of which are similar to other studies on male football populations. Compared to elite professional footballers from South Africa, semi-professional footballers need to increase their lean muscle mass and the power production of their lower limbs.

Keywords: Soccer; Physiological performance; Sub-elite; Africa; Fitness


print ISSN: 0379-9069