S'Busiso Mseleku

Mother of all derbies in store

2014-09-18 12:55
Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
There is only one subject worth discussing in South African football this week: The MTN8 Soweto Derby final!

Every corner you turn, be it on a train, bus, taxi or even when sitting in your car and listening to the radio, talk is around this very important event on the SA sporting calendar.

It came as no surprise that tickets for Saturday's match were snapped up in less than four hours of going on sale.

People who were hoping to buy them on their way home from work, lost out.

An as a result, we are told that there are many fake tickets in circulation out there while there is also talk that some people bought tickets in bulk with a view of selling them at inflated prices.

On many occasions, more especially in recent years, the derby has failed to live to expectations. Many a derby has ended in a dour, goalless draw.

But the hype this time around is that this will be the mother of all derbies. There is even talk that there will be plenty of goals. And there will definitely be a winner this time as this is a one-off final.

This argument is based on the fact that the two clubs are in top form with their players scoring goals freely.

The Orlando Pirates duo of Kermit Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Majoro have been scoring goals as if they are going out of fashion. The fact that Majoro is a former Chiefs player while coach Vladimir Vermezovic is also a former Amakhosi mentor, are further ingredients that point to a humdinger.

Chiefs go into this final with a 100% record having registered six straight wins in the league and four in this Cup tournament.

They also have the two Georges, Maluleka and Lebese, as well as Mandla Masango and Reneilwe Letsholonyane who are in red hot form.

That Kaizer Chief are without talisman captain and goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, should count for naught.

But on the flipside, this could be an extra motivating factor for Pirates goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa.

The latter has been living in Khune's shadow for quite some time at national level. In doing so, he faced a similar situation as that of another Bucs goal-minder, Moneeb Josephs.

But in Khune's absence, Meyiwa was given the No 1 jersey and awarded the Bafana Bafana captain's arm-band for their 2015 AFCON qualification matches against Sudan and Nigeria.

He didn't disappoint, keeping a clean sheet in both matches.

And no bigger stage to entrench his position than in front of a full house at Moses Mabhida Stadium and a huge global audience!

Which brings me to another point. With all the hype around this match, one hopes that the footballers involved will give the paying spectators their money's worth.

South African footballers do have a tendency to take the paying spectators for a ride. It is this kind of attitude that has led to many Soweto Derby matches ending in goalless draws.

A change in attitude and an approach similar to that of world renowned magician David Copperfield who gave his best performance in every show, the players that the two clubs have at their disposal can produce one hell of a game.

And this is just what the paying spectators deserve, save for the bragging rights that will be earned by those whose club wins.

The world over, derbies are usually highly anticipated events and almost never fail to live up to their billing.

May this MTN8 final Soweto Derby provide us with unforgettable memories that will linger long in our minds!

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.



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