We took a look at the best athletes from Mozambique and compiled a list of the ten who made the biggest impact. Mozambique is a beautiful country, with a long coastline along the Indian Ocean, blessed with beautiful beaches like Tofo, and beautiful offshore marine parks.
A nation of now almost 29 million people, Mozambique has produced some quality athletes over the years. During the colonial era it was under Portuguese rule, which will explain the Portugal connection to a lot of the athletes below.
Note: We do not support the colonial-era or condone anything that was done by making this list. We simply chose athletes born in Mozambique that became the most known.
Martinho Martins Mukana – Paito
Martinho Martins Mukana, better known as Paito is a Mozambican professional soccer player, he plays left back. He was born in Maputo and began his pro career at Sporting Clube de Portugal. Paito began to represent Mozambique on the national level at the early age of 20. He played in the 2002 COSAFA Cup, 2003 COSAFA Cup, 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, 2004 COSAFA Cup, and the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Tina is an 800 metres runner, who was born in Inhambane, and is a distant cousin to the legendary Maria Mutola. Tina began running seriously at competitions at the age of 18 back in 1992, after having already played basketball for the Mozambican national team. She won Gold in the 1993 Durban African Championships and Silver at the 1998 Kuala Lampur Commonwealth Games.
Almiro Lobo – Miro
Daniel Almiro Lobo, or more commonly known as Miro is a soccer defender in the South African Premier League. He has also been playing for the Mozambique national team since 2004 and scored 6 goals in 39 appearances. He wears number 16 and was born in Quelimane.
Born in Inhaca to a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother, Mario played mainly as a central midfielder. He passed away at the age of 78 in 2014, and left behind an illustrious sports career playing for such teams as Benfica, Lyon, and Estrela Portalegre. After retiring from soccer and after Mozambique gained independence in 1975, Coluna was the President of it’s Football Federation. He also was Mozambique’s Minister of Sports from 1994 to 1999.
Miguel Ângelo Karim Simões Fazenda, better known as Tininho, was born in Beira, Mozambique. He is now retired, but during his career has played for 12 different professional teams in many different leagues. He even played in the English Championship shortly for West Bromwich Albion.
The notorious Portuguese football coach and current manager of the Iran national team. Carlos Manuel Brito Leal Queroz was actually born in Nampula, Mozambique. His early days as a football player from 1968-74 weren’t too distinguished, but his coach career was very notorious, going to manage Portugal, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Manchester United (as an assistant), Real Madrid, and now Iran. Though not a true Mozambican, because his parents are Portuguese, and he moved to Portugal after Mozambique declared independence in 1975 with his parents. He was nonetheless born on the soil and many people still cite this.
Kurt Leonel da Rocha Couto is a Mozambican track and field athlete who specializes in the 400 metres hurdles competition. He moved to South Africa when he was 17 to train, and his personal best in the 400 metres is 46.50 and in the 400 metres hurdles it was 49.02. Couto was Mozambique’s proud flag bearer at the Olympic games three times: 2004 Summer, 2008 Summer, and 2012 Summer. Additionally he was the flag bearer for Mozambique at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He retired during the 2016 Olympic games after the first round with a time of 49.74 seconds.
The legendary soccer player Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier, who played as a full back and the current head coach for the Mozambique national team! He played for professional clubs all over Europe including countries like: Italy, Holland, England, Spain, Germany, and Turkey. He retired with the Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States Major League Soccer. Most notably he played for Everton and Liverpool, two huge English teams. After retiring from soccer, Xavier converted to Islam and changed his first name to Faisal.
The legendary Maria de Lurdes Mutola, what is there to say that hasn’t been said already of this beautiful woman. She is a now retired female track and field athlete who specialized in the 800 metres running event. She is one of only four athletes to compete at the Olympic Games, SIX times.
A three time world champion in the 800 metres event and a one time Olympic champion. Even though she never ended up braking the world record in her favorite event, track insiders and fans across the world regard her as one of the greatest 800 metres females runners there ever was. For her consistency in major competitions and her longevity. She is the ONLY athlete to have won Olympic, World, World indoor, Commonwealth Games, Continental Games and Continental Championships titles in the same event.
Currently Maria is the main coach for Caster Semenya, who many regard as the best female 800 metre runner in history.
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was born in Maputo, Mozambique. He was a striker, and not just any striker. He is regarded by many to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time. As a professional he scored 749 goals in 745 matches for club teams.
His nicknames were Black Panther, Black Pearl, or o Rei (the King). He was fast, skilled, athletic, and his right foot was unstoppable. He is considered not just the best but among the FIRST world-class African-born players. He was voted the ninth-best footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS, and a tenth-best footballer of the 20th century by the World Soccer magazine; though many true fans who watched him play swear they’ve never seen better. Not even with Pele and Maradona.
As you can see, most of the athletes that are better known from Mozambique are soccer players. But the legendary Maria Mutola trumps all of them but the iconic Eusebio when it comes to cementing one’s place in history. We chose to include athletes who’s ancestors have ties with Portugal because they were born on Mozambican soil. Without getting into politics of how much that makes them Mozambican at all, we hope you’ll agree and understand this decision.
Another Must Read: 10 Best Zambian Athletes