29 January 2016

South Africa: Football and Society - the Soweto Derby


The Soweto Derby is a relatively peaceful, colourful, noisy and spectacular event. In the rest of the world, local derbies can be bloody affairs that draw on deep tensions within local communities and societies. We should not forget the death of 43 people during a Soweto Derby at Ellis Park in 2001. By ISMAIL LAGARDIEN.

Local derbies are the highlight for every football season in every league around the world. Sometimes they bring out the best, and sometimes they bring out the worst in players and fans. On Saturday, two of South Africa's biggest clubs meet at the FNB Stadium: Kaizer Chiefs will play Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby. Like most football derbies, the Soweto Derby is a spectacle, and a highlight of the football calendar. Based only on league standings, Chiefs are favourites, but derbies are unpredictable.

The Soweto Derby is not the oldest in the world, nor is it the fiercest. In my own estimation, the Old Firm Derby (Glasgow Celtic - Glasgow Rangers), the Rome Derby (Lazio - Roma), and the Istanbul Derby (Galatasaray - Fenerbahçe) are the fiercest and most intense - quite often for what happens off the field.

There are, of course, the...

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