Sat Oct 22 19:58:50 SAST 2016

There is no other derby to enthuse about

By unknown | Apr 26, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Love them or hate them, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates still make some hearts go giddy-up when they meet in battle.

Love them or hate them, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates still make some hearts go giddy-up when they meet in battle.

The teams more often than not need no incentives to be fired up because prestige, more than anything else, is good enough for either to prove who the bull of the kraal is.

As Pirates host Amakhosi at Ellis Park on Saturday, their fans will be out there in numbers, not caring much about the fact that this is an "insignificant" Castle Premiership fixture to some.

The reason for their "expert opinions" being that Mamelodi Sundowns have long won the league title which the two teams were supposed to have been fighting for in this particular match.

But unfortunately, this is is not going to be an ordinary league match as a lot will be at stake.

The formation of Chiefs in 1970 by players and officials who were expelled by Pirates - or amarabela as some chose to call them - later proved to be a blessing in disguise for South African football.

This happened at a time when Soweto's real derby, or should we say South Africa's derby ya mampela, would be a match between the maroon and white coloured "Birds" and Ezimnyama ngenkani.

Matches between Bucs and Moroka Swallows were the ones that would end up with fighting on the pitch as well as in the stands.

There was, however, a tragedy in 1963 when 12 people died and scores got injured during a stampede at Jeppe station, something that was blamed on the South African Railways authorities.

The hundreds of fans were on their way back home after the Birds and the Buccaneers had met at the Indian sport grounds not far from Jeppe hostels.

Never mind that sad episode, it's the football that was normally dished out that would set tongues wagging for weeks on end.

Then along came Amakhosi. The then orange-kitted Pirates' offspring got more media attention as they went out recruiting some of the best players, including unknown gems, both in Mzansi and in neighbouring countries.

Their other advantage, if you will, was that unlike traditionalist Bucs, they also wanted to be seen to be more than just hip "hippies" with their dress code.

Their players also annoyed some of the Orlando pantsulas with their "stretched hair styles" and "Afros". More so after having once more outgunned Pirates on the pitch.

Chiefs' fans would then be subjected to ridicule like having to do the Bucs' crossbones sign with their arms. And who could not with those big knives being brandished in your face? Of course we are talking about the early days and it was during that period when Chiefs dominated Pirates.

In fact, it was amazing that with the type of heavy beating the Orlando East side was receiving from their counterparts and offspring from Orlando West that their supporters seemed happy to come for more rather than stay at home.

Was it because they banked on getting revenge as celebrations would prove every time Pirates had the better of "The Glamour Boys". When all this was happening, the football gods embraced matches between the two as derbies to always look forward to.

Having mentioned violent incidents at some derbies, none ever ended in stampedes. The two on record are the 1991 stampede in Orkney on January 13 in a friendly and the one at Ellis Park on April 13 2001 during a league game. Some, with a queer way of looking at things, are lamely suggesting that recent derbies between Chiefs and Pirates are not worth their while.

As someone from Ekurhuleni, let me reluctantly say "when it comes to Pirates and Chiefs, s'bali, Jozi offers the best derby between Cape Town and Musina".

By the way, we're talking about the only two teams from southern Africa to have won CAF's Super Cup. This after Bucs won the previous version of the League Championship in 1995.

Chiefs, on the other hand, had won the 2001-02 Mandela Cup. Please don't blame fans for refusing to forget such feats by their heroes even if they could have happened during the stone age, in case that's the real issue.


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