Monday, March 26, 2012

Soweto Derby Brings Excitement to South Africans Even Days After the Final Whistle

Khuliso Nemarimela
@willeinstein

A group celebrating in Soshanguve after the match.
While Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs matches often pack stadiums, many who can’t make it there often fill public viewing areas in townships, university television halls, houses with the biggest television sets in rural villages and many other places. Township streets are often empty during these matches as was the case in Soshanguve, just outside Pretoria, on Saturday 17 March 2010 when the two met for a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match. What was even more thrilling this time is that there were four goals scored during the match – a first when South Africa’s biggest clubs meet.

In Pretoria there is another team that would fill viewing rooms in a similar fashion and that is the local team, Sundowns. The matches between the two Soweto giants though are often boring as the two would be careful when they play against each other – but despite this they leave a lot of talking points. The latest however was thrilling!

There was screaming, shouting, jumping and a few insults thrown around in the name of fun as people gathered in Soshanguve. When the two meet, you would swear some brothers were enemies, but the hate only lasts for the duration of the match as there often is a party no matter who the winner is.

It’s been a week since the match, but people still talk about it when they meet in car washes, bus stops, street corners and spathlo restaurants. Another match that added to this non-stop excitement was the Pirates and Sundowns clash on Wednesday evening. The weekend match though was won by Orlando Pirates despite having recently fired its coach.

Buccaneer, Payile Emmanuel, from soshanguve Block H said: "[The] game was very much impressive. I was down because problems revolving Pirates in terms of the coach. The derby is always tough for both sides and it usually ends up a draw and that is what I was expecting on Saturday but Pirates proved me and the world wrong by showing the ability to win. I can say Pirates is a winning team they just need to believe in themselves. First half I saw what is meant by good communication in the team. Chiefs is no longer a problem for pirates and derby is no longer a problem in Soweto. I go for pirates in left and right black and white."

Amakhosi supporter and Soshanguve’s Block G resident, Kenneth Mlambo, said: "The Chiefs and Pirates game? The game was not that good for me because Chiefs backline was too weak and Jimmy Tau couldn't close the 2 meter gap between himself and Tlou Segolela, now even Keegan Ritchie gave Daine Klate a lot of free space and that's why we lost. Even our midfield was weak."

Maybe the two sides should meet more to bring some excitement to this township where a lot of people spend days sitting on the side of the road with the lack of employment and huge poverty here. At least for the 90 minutes they have something to do and at least for a week after the clash, they have had something exciting to talk about.

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