Absa Premiership

Soweto derby a rare full-house attraction in SA sport

2018-10-30 14:32
Soweto derby
Soweto derby (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The dictionary describes an anomaly as "a deviation from the rule".

Well the ongoing deviations from the rule that exist and blight the South African sport spectrum were brought home in no uncertain manner this past weekend.

In the first instance while a sell-out crowd that paid good money for 82 000 tickets was present at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon to witness Orlando Pirates beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the Absa Premiership’s Soweto derby, the realisation needs to be accepted that on the next occasion the teams are in action the number of those present is more likely to be in the vicinity of 8 000 - notwithstanding whether their opponents might be of a higher PSL calibre or not.

Compare this to the Spanish La Liga derby on Sunday in which Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-1 at the Camp Nou before a 98 000 crowd. But in contrast to the South African scenario, the two Spanish giants are assured of playing ALL their remaining matches before near-capacity crowds - something with which overseas teams like Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Juventus, PSG, AC Milan, Inter and others are also assured of as a formality.

Interestingly, also in relation to the throbbing, massive crowd that made their way to FNB Stadium is that Pirates and Chiefs are by no means the top two teams in the Absa Premiership at the moment, with their confrontations more in line with that of a mesmerising ritual and likened by one observer to that of the Pied Piper of Hamelin luring the masses to promised, but unfulfilled delights.

And then as another conspicuous deviation from the norm in matters concerning South African sport, after Kevin Anderson had equalled the 23-year old record of Wayne Ferreira in qualifying for the eight-man singles segment of the ATP Finals next month and also securing the first ATP 500 title of his career by winning the Austrian Open, three of the four daily newspapers in the country's Johannesburg cosmopolitan did not as much as mention the 6-foot-8 Anderson's final victory against Japan's Kei Nishikori in their next editions.

Whether it was indifference, ignorance, incompetence - or some other reason behind the omission, here was another example of the deviation of the rule that abound in the sporting structures of South African sport, both on the fields, courts and rings in which they are staged - and off it by administrators, the media and followers who think nothing of hounding and baying illogically at managers and players who fail to come up to their expectations.

Behind it all is an element of immaturity which does the damage, particularly in the realms of team events - while those who are afflicted with the deviation from the norm seem happily oblivious.


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