Father’s Day: 10 fathers who made sports a family legacy

Sports have always been a shared bond between a father and son/daughter, and fathers have often taught their children to kick a football or catch a cricket ball.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that many children have followed their fathers into professional sports. Here, we look at 10 known father-child duos in sports:

1) Cesare Maldini and Paolo Maldini (AC Milan and Italy)

Cesare Maldini was a no nonsense centre-half for AC Milan who made over 300 appearances for the Rossoneri. He later moved on to become a manager as he coached Italy, and then led Paraguay to the 1998 World Cup.

Paolo Maldini on the other hand needs no introduction to hardcore football fans. An AC Milan and Italian legend, who only played for one club throughout his career and captained the 2007 Champions League winning side of Milan. Paolo is also the most capped player for Italy with 126 caps and is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time. He played at a world class level his entire career which lasted for two and a half decades, and won the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39. He also won the Serie A Defender of the Year Award in 2004. The Maldinis are a revered family in Milan and their legacy is second to none.

2) Muhammad Ali and Laila Ali (Boxing)

It can’t be easy following in the footsteps of a former world heavyweight champion, the fighter of the century and the man they call “The Greatest.” But that hasn’t stopped Laila, 26, the youngest of Muhammad Ali’s seven children. Laila has been boxing professionally since October 1999 when she defeated April Fowler in 31 seconds. Since then she’s won nine more fights convincingly, making her dad, who retired from boxing in 1981, quite proud. Laila won’t be the only current pro boxing daughter spending time with a former heavyweight champion this Father’s Day.

Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, the daughter of former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, battled Ali in a bout on June 8, 2001, in Verona. The fight was called the “Thrilla in Manila 4,” a reference to the three classic fights between their fathers in the 1970s. Frazier-Lyde, 16 years older than Laila, began boxing a few months after Ali and had looked forward to renewing the family rivalry. Ali won the bout by a majority decision in eight rounds.

3) Lala Amarnath and Mohinder Amarnath (Cricket)

Lala Amarnath is considered to be the finest all-rounder of his time, he’s the first Test match centurion for India. Lala had two sons named Surinder and Mohinder Amarnath, Surinder and Lala are the only father-son duo in the history of cricket to score a Test Century in their debut matches. The real successor of Lala’s fame was his younger son Mohinder Amarnath who went on to play a crucial role for India in the Cricket World cup 1983. Mohinder’s all-round abilities helped him win the man of the match in both the semi-final and final of 1983 World Cup.

4) Graham Hill and Damon Hill (Formula One)

From the moment he was born, Damon Hill was surrounded by cars and drivers, and with Graham twice winning the world title it seemed inevitable he would follow in his father’s footsteps. But this was no story of a father making his son’s route into a sport a foregone conclusion.

When Damon was 15 his father died in a plane crash, and he had to work as a motorbike courier to make ends meet. He also stayed away from cars until he was 23, and even then had to borrow £100,000 to keep going. He was 31 before he made an uninspiring F1 debut with Brabham, but with Williams from 1993 he proved he had what it took. It seemed his chance had gone but in 1996, with a move away from Williams already a done deal, he ensured the Hills became the first father-son duo of world champions. Unlike some others on this list, Damon’s success was all of his own doing and came in the face of considerable adversity.

5) Iftikar Ali Khan Pataudi and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (Cricket)

The senior Nawab Iftikar Ali Khan Pataudi had played a total of 6 Test matches and scored a century in his debut match for India. Senior Pataudi is also the only player to have played for both India and England. Like father like son Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi had also been a revelation on the field. Mansur ‘Tiger’ Pataudi followed his father’s footsteps and became India’s youngest Test captain. Despite his impaired vision Tiger Pataudi went on to be a star for Indian cricket. His son Saif Ali Khan is a famous Indian actor and so is his daughter Soha Ali Khan.

6) Johan Cryuff and Jordi Cryuff (Netherlands)

The Dutch magician Johan Cryuff is no stranger to anyone. Known for his magical technical abilities and the inventor of the famous ‘Cryuff turn’, Johan Cryuff is and will always be a legend. He started his career at Ajax, scoring a whopping 190 goals in 240 appearances. He later moved to Barcelona and scored 48 goals for them. Johan was also one of the most successful managers in Barcelona’s history as he was the one who gave them an identity of their own. His son Jordi was also a bright talent. He was handed a debut by his father in 1994 for Barcelona. In 1996 he made a move for Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling Manchester United side. But injuries hampered his stay at Old Trafford and also to some extent damaged his career.

7) Gilles Villeneuve and Jaques Villeneuve (Fomula One)

Such was the reputation on and off the track of Gilles, who was killed at Zolder in 1982, when Jacques was 11, that his son faced an almost impossible task in living up to the family name. An Indycar crown in 1995 and an F1 world title in his second season in 1997 should have been enough for him to start carving out his own reputation but there followed some poor career moves and he managed only four podiums, and no wins in the eight years after his championship. As Charles Jennings wrote: “It’s fabulous Gilles and not the sometimes extremely good Jacques who still claims ownership of the Villeneuve legend.”

8) Peter Pollock and Shaun Pollock (Cricket)

Shaun Pollock had cricket in his blood line, as the South African all-rounder went on to play 100 Test matches for his National team. His father Peter Pollock was a premier fast bowler for the Proteas while his uncle Graeme Pollock was arguably South Africa’s greatest batsman.


9) Keke Rosberg and Niko Rosberg (Formula One)

Just like the Villeneuve’s, the Rosberg’s are Formula 1 legacy Nico Rosberg has the ability to match the achievements of his father. Keke was a chain-smoking keep-fit fanatic who, Niki Lauda said, took himself “unbelievably seriously”. He won the 1982 world title despite only recording one win all season, and finished third in 1985, both with Williams. He then managed son Nico early in his career and helped to open doors and lure sponsors, but since 2006 Nico has established his own reputation. Nico, now racing for Mercedes, is in a tight battle with fellow teammate Lewis Hamilton for the world championship, and has 10 career wins along with 33 podium finishes to his name.


10) Geoff Marsh and, Shaun and Mitchell Marsh (Cricket-Australia)

The Australian opener Geoff Marsh has played a total of 50 matches and also coached Australia to world cup victory in 1999. Geoff passed his skill and the honour of playing Test Cricket to both his sons Shaun and Mitch. While Shaun is a naturally aggressive opener younger Mitch is an all-rounder.