What Sports Are Popular in Benin?

The popularity of sports in Benin has been steadily growing over the years, with a diverse range of activities capturing the interest of both locals and tourists. From traditional sports that have been passed down through generations to modern games that have gained popularity in recent times, Benin offers a vibrant sports scene that appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds. In this article, we will explore the most popular sports in Benin, their history, and the impact they have on the cultural fabric of the country. Whether you are a sports enthusiast or simply curious about the sporting landscape of Benin, this article will provide you with valuable insights and information.

Popular Sports in Benin


Football is the most popular sport in Benin. It is not only enjoyed by the locals but also followed fervently by fans across the country. The Benin national football team, known as the Squirrels, represents the country in international competitions. Football matches in Benin are often filled with excitement and passion, with fans gathering in stadiums or local viewing centers to cheer on their favorite teams.


Basketball is also a popular sport in Benin, although it may not have the same level of popularity as football. The sport has been gaining traction in recent years, with more and more people showing interest and getting involved. Benin has its own national basketball team that competes in regional and international tournaments. Local basketball leagues and clubs provide opportunities for aspiring athletes to develop their skills and passion for the sport.


Volleyball is another sport that enjoys a significant following in Benin. It is played both competitively and recreationally, with various leagues and tournaments organized throughout the country. Benin has its national volleyball team, which participates in international competitions and represents the country with pride. Volleyball matches in Benin showcase impressive athleticism and teamwork, attracting enthusiasts who appreciate the fast-paced nature of the sport.

Overall, football, basketball, and volleyball are the popular sports in Benin. These sports not only promote physical fitness and skill development but also foster a sense of unity and national pride among the people of Benin.

Traditional Sports in Benin

Lutte Traditionnelle

Lutte Traditionnelle, also known as traditional wrestling, is one of the most popular traditional sports in Benin. It holds deep cultural significance and has been practiced for centuries. This traditional form of wrestling involves two competitors who try to overpower each other using specific techniques and strategies. Lutte Traditionnelle matches are often held during festivals and special occasions, attracting enthusiastic crowds from all over the country.


Tchoukball is a relatively modern sport that has gained popularity in Benin. It is a fast-paced team sport that combines elements of handball, volleyball, and squash. Tchoukball is played with two teams, each aiming to score points by throwing a ball at a rebound frame without the opposing team catching it. This exciting sport promotes teamwork, agility, and strategic thinking. Tchoukball has gained a strong following in Benin, with local clubs and tournaments organized regularly.


Dambe is a traditional martial art and combat sport that originated from the Hausa people in Nigeria but has also become popular in Benin. It is a unique form of boxing that combines strikes with kicks and grappling techniques. Dambe fighters, known as "Harkis," compete inside a makeshift ring using only one hand and one leg as weapons. This intense sport is not only about physical strength but also requires mental focus and agility. Dambe competitions attract large audiences, and the fighters are highly respected within their communities.

These traditional sports in Benin showcase the rich cultural heritage and diversity of the country. Whether it’s the ancient art of Lutte Traditionnelle, the modern excitement of Tchoukball, or the intense battles of Dambe, these sports bring communities together and celebrate the spirit of athleticism in Benin.

In conclusion, Benin offers a diverse range of popular sports that cater to both traditional and modern interests. Football remains the most widely followed and played sport, with a passionate fan base and successful national team. However, other sports such as basketball, athletics, and martial arts are gaining popularity and recognition in the country. Benin’s rich cultural heritage also contributes to the appreciation of traditional games like wrestling and traditional dances. With ongoing efforts to improve sports infrastructure and promote participation, Benin continues to foster a vibrant sporting culture that brings communities together and showcases the nation’s talent on both a national and international level.

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