Sipping the bottom of the beer barrel

Prof, an erudite lager lout at Mam'nenkani Tavern where I drink, has been waxing lyrical about local soccer, saying smaller teams are playing better football than their larger and richer counterparts.

The gaunt, hollow-eyed senior drinker is the self-appointed resident intellectual and philosopher, just as Steve Komphela is considered in soccer circles.

Coincidentally, Prof adores Komphela because of the "pearls of wisdom" he says.

He has no time for Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic though, who he calls "that incoherent oaf".

But this past week he couldn't help but mention the two in the same sentence because the Soweto derby was the only thing he talked about.

Prof says spring has sprung and the two Soweto giants need to use the opportunity to do a spring-cleaning of their own.

"Like in any business, you find that some goods move fast but other stock lingers, so the idea of clearing some of your inventory quickly at discounted prices is a perennial, of course. But what will make a difference is how you implement it," he said, stopping to take a big swig from his glass and to gauge our level of comprehension.

He argued that the two teams were shadows of their former selves, which is why the Soweto derbies produce as much spark as a knobkerrie striking mud.

"As much as Komphela rightfully made the observation that the only time one derives the best out of a teabag is when it is immersed in hot water, Sredojevic failed to create enough combustion to heat up water. So all we ended up with was cold water and a wet teabag," said Prof, studying the rim of his glass as if to glean more wisdom from it.

After a minute's silence he burst out laughing until beer squirted out of his nostrils.

We looked at him flummoxed as he rolled on the floor, his glass protectively held high.

"[Stuart] Baxter has called up Siphiwe Tshabalala to the national squad!..." he said, almost choking on his words.

Maybe for the next match he will call up Komphela, Eric Tinkler and Neil Tovey.

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