Absa Premiership

Nothing can beat the beautiful game

2018-03-04 11:35
Pirates v Chiefs (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - It was another beautiful day in South African football when giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs collided at the world-class FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.

Since 1971, this has been the day that all die-hard football supporters look forward to and they will do just about anything to get tickets.

But by Friday, tickets were sold out, proving once again that this is the only match that is always guaranteed bums on seats, regardless of the current form of the two adversaries.

Early in the day, the calabash-shaped stadium stood silently, waiting to swallow the 90 000-odd fans who came pouring in from all directions.

Some waved the famous Buccaneers flag with its skull and crossbones, others floated the gold and black of their beloved Amakhosi.

As usual, not just local fans filled the seats - throngs of lovers of the game from neighbouring countries, including Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, also crowded in to pay their respects to what has become Mzansi’s football Mecca after the stadium hosted the world’s best spectacle in 2010 - the World Cup.

There was lots of food, drinks flowed and all kinds of paraphernalia related to the two clubs was for sale. Sweating mamas did a roaring trade selling "pap and vleis" and vendors competed for customers from both clubs.

By 13:00, two and a half hours before kick-off, there were supporters sitting comfortably in their seats.

Still, football addicts flooded in. Soon the seats were covered in black and white and black and gold. There were also small pockets of supporters wearing red, Pirates’ alternative colour.

Many spectators bucked the South African trend of hurriedly flooding into the venue at the last minute, which usually leads to chaos and has seen many a game of this magnitude being delayed for safety reasons.

Then it was the moment that the masses were waiting for - a time to forget their problems. For 90 minutes, everyone was engrossed in one thing and one thing only - the beautiful game.

A thunderous roar welcomed the two teams when they marched on to the pitch to warm up.

As has become the trend of late, singing fans outnumbered those with vuvuzelas. There was also a lot of dancing and gyrating accompanying the singing.

The Soweto Derby continues to be one of the biggest local contests. It appeals to the public and is usually a peaceful game, unlike the matches overseas that often end in fisticuffs.

The one downside that members of the security team watch on nonchalantly as some of the spectators smoke in the stands and sometimes commit deeds that are a turn-off for those who would like to bring their families to matches. Stadium management should take serious note of this and do something about it.

In recent years, fans from opposing sides sit and laugh together, and it was no different on Saturday.

The match proved just how beautiful the game really is.

Oh yes, Pirates won 3-1...

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Fixtures
Friday, 01 June 2018
Baroka FC v Polokwane City, Peter Mokaba Stadium 00:00
Saturday, 04 August 2018
Mamelodi Sundowns v Kaizer Chiefs, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 15:00
Mamelodi Sundowns v Kaizer Chiefs, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 15:00
Wits v Free State Stars, Bidvest Stadium 18:00
Wits v Free State Stars, Bidvest Stadium 18:00
Cape Town City v SuperSport United, Cape Town Stadium 18:00
Cape Town City FC v SuperSport United, Cape Town Stadium 18:00
Black Leopards v Polokwane City, Peter Mokaba Stadium 18:00
Black Leopards v Polokwane City, Thohoyandou Stadium 18:00
AmaZulu FC v Baroka FC, King Zwelithini Stadium 20:15
AmaZulu v Baroka FC, King Zwelithini Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v Highlands Park, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v Highlands Park, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 05 August 2018
Bloemfontein Celtic v Chippa United, Dr Molemela Stadium 15:00
Bloemfontein Celtic v Chippa United, Dr. Molemela Stadium 15:00
Maritzburg United v Golden Arrows, Harry Gwala Stadium 15:00
Maritzburg United v Golden Arrows, Harry Gwala Stadium 15:00
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