Soweto Derby history
Soweto Derby history

Posted in Features, News on Feb 27, 2017.

Father meets son

For years, Kaizer ‘Chincha Guluva’ Motaung and Percy ‘Chippa’ Moloi formed a lethal attacking combination at Orlando Pirates. That all changed after Motaung broke away from the Buccaneers at the end of 1969, mainly because of supporting three of the side’s top players who were expelled, Thomas ‘Zero’ Johnson, Edward ‘Msomi’ Khoza and Ratha ‘Jimmy Greaves’ Mokgoatleng.

Kaizer Chiefs was born on 7 January 1970, just in time to participate in the Rogue Beer Cup. Amakhosi went past the first hurdle, but lost 6-5 in the semi-finals to PUBS, despite being 4-1 in front at some stage.

The dressing room was quiet after the match, but the loss did result in the first ever Soweto Derby played on 24 January 1970, when Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates faced each other in the loser’s final of the Rogue Beer Cup. The Buccaneers lost in the semis to Moroka Swallows Big XV.

“Chippa-Chippa, Motaung will be on opposing sides,” screamed a headline in the daily newspaper The World ahead of the clash. Many soccer fans spoke about the “Match of the Year”, as the two Soweto teams, one from Orlando, the other from Phefeni, were going to lock horns with each other.

For Chiefs to face Pirates was like ‘a son taking on his father’, as Motaung was basically brought up, at least soccer wise, by the Bucs.

The Namibian striker Herman ‘Pelé’ Blaschke, was especially chartered in from his home country for this game. He was welcomed back at Amakhosi’s training ground at Meadowlands Stadium by Motaung and team manager Ewert Nene.

Blaschke had done fabulously well with the Kaizer XI in late 1969, but returned to Namibia. However, now he was back, promising that “I will tear Pirates’ defence to threads”. Meanwhile, Zero Johnson was fetched by car from Botswana to be ready to play in the Derby.

Expectations were high. Orlando Stadium was bursting with energy on that historic Saturday. Kaizer Motaung played the game of his life, often dribbling his way past the entire Bucs defence. Right-wing Alfred ‘Bomber’ Chamane and Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe, the youngest of the Chiefs players, were also on song.

However, it was Percy Moloi who brought Pirates ahead with a scorcher. A defensive mistake let to another Bucs goal. However, the 17-days-old club fought back to equalise before the break, thanks to two goals from Ntsoelengoe.

In the second half Kaizer Motaung showed again why he had become such a hero with the American soccer fans, while playing for Atlanta Chiefs. But instead it was Pirates that took the lead, moving to 5-3, with midfield hard man Petros ‘Ten-Ten’ Nzimande scoring for Chiefs. Thereafter, it was rock solid defender Jackie Masike, who unleashed a rocket from long range, bringing the score back to 5-4.

Amakhosi pushed for the equaliser. However, Pirates scored just before the referee’s final whistle, 6-4, despite a desperate attempt by Chiefs’ goalkeeper Joe Mthimkulu to save the ball.

It turned out to be the first of 160 Soweto Derbies, with the last so far held on Saturday, 29 October 2016. The match finished in a goalless draw.

Chiefs have won 67 of these 160 Derbies, while Pirates won 38 and 50 matches ended in a draw (five matches were abandoned over the years, often because of crowd violence).

The legendary Ntsoelengoe has scored the most goals in a Derby, finding the back of the net 19 times, while the Zimbabwean striker Ebson ‘Sugar’ Muguyo, who had a ferocious shot in his legs, was the first Chiefs player to score a hat-trick. This happened during the BP Top 16 semi-final replay on 3 December 1975. Amakhosi won 5-1.

The Derby nowadays takes place at FNB Stadium which is usually sold out with 90 000 enthusiastic spectators in attendance, blowing their vuvuzelas, dancing and singing. The Amakhosi supporters are easy recognizable in their Gold and Black regalia..

Soweto Derbies are tense affairs with many players admitting that they struggle to sleep on the eve of the game, although, of course, those nerves often disappear when the referee blows his whistle for the kick off.

The Soweto Derby in anno 2017 is recognised worldwide as one of the best, on par with Argentina’s clash between Boca Juniors and River Plate, Spain’s Real Madrid against Barcelona or Turkey’s Fenerbahçe versus Galatasaray.

It has become a spectacle not to be missed with many soccer fanatics travelling from all over Africa and the rest of the world to South Africa to experience the Soweto Derby.

Share this article: