Soweto Derby First-Timers Speak

What is it about a derby game that captures the raw emotion and passion of football? One thing for sure, derbies are much more than just a normal game.

Soweto Derby – the moniker used to refer to the match of all matches between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs – is a match that is almost impossible to compare to any other in the country.

Throngs of supporters from all walks of life congregated at the fabled FNB Stadium to witness the first Soweto Derby of the 2019/20 season, and although this was a pre-season event, the Carling Black Label Cup match between two of South Africa’s biggest clubs still attracted the numbers like it always does.

So how does is it feel like to be play a part in such a game?

Orlando Pirates had some derby debutants in the 2-0 victory over Chiefs at the weekend. posed this question to Bongani Sam; Gabadinho Mhango, Zakhele Lepasa and Fortune Makaringe.

Sam: “Wow, what an occasion! It’s difficult to explain what emotions I was going through, but I do know that I was nervous, almost afraid. Getting onto the pitch and having my first touch calmed me down a little bit, but the nerves didn’t leave me until I left the field because I’ve always wanted to play in the Derby.”

Mhango: “For me it was a great feeling, a great moment. Playing for Pirates is massive because it’s the biggest team in the country and being part of the Soweto Derby is a dream come true. Every player watches this game and wants to play in it.”

Lepasa: “It was a nice feeling to be part of the squad, and even better to get onto the field. I was so excited when I got the chance to play. As a young player I felt very welcomed by the other players, they made it easy for me to fit in. We all know how big this game is, so to participate in it is something you can never forget. I’m really happy about getting that chance.”

Makaringe: “It was a top feeling, I really enjoyed myself in the game. I want to say a big thank you to all the football fans who voted for me to participate in this game. Having grown up supporting Pirates, the biggest feeling for me was that of joy because when I got onto the field for the first time in this important game, I did it representing all the other young boys from the township who grow up supporting this team and watching this game. It’s the realisation of a dream to play in a game that we are always watching. I’m very pleased with that.”

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