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Editor's Blog

Chiefs & Ajax, Take A Bow!

The true nature of a derby game of football relies on geography to create rivalry and infuse tension. It relies on footballing neighbours from the same area or city to do battle for the pride of being called top dog. Essentially, it’s a turf war. Those particular games hurt a little more when you lose them… taste a little sweeter when you win them. So to classify the Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town encounter as a derby would be wrong because the geography is all wrong. That said, there is definitely something brewing between these two teams and the matchup is fast becoming one of the fixtures of the season people look out for.

This weekend past, the Amakhosi came to Cape Town as visitors to Cape Town Stadium having just a couple of days before been beaten by Ajax Cape Town to the MTN8 trophy. So the theme of the day was certainly ‘revenge’. Now, Cape Town stadium, when filled with 35000 passionate fans, rivals some of the best football cathedrals in the world. What, for the most part, is a white elephant on the affluent Atlantic Seaboard becomes a magnificent arena trumpeting its splendour for all to see. Add to that some truly world-class football and all of a sudden the PSL looks like a top quality league.

Hats off to Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town for the professional display of entertainment they gave the country on the weekend! You could have taken that performance and put it in any league in the world and it wouldn’t have looked out of place. There was a great rhythm to the game, and the basics were done at pace and with authority. There were moments of supreme skill from the playmakers, and a lot of steel was shown by the enforcers… and, of course, there were goals!

That said, I can’t help but think that the reason the heat has risen in this fixture has everything to do with geography because, while these two are in separate provinces, with Kaizer Chiefs announcement that they have moved three of their ‘home games’ to the home turf of Ajax Cape Town, it seems to have angered the Ajax players, and certainly the management of the Urban Warriors. The fact that Franklin Cale openly said in Soccer Laduma last week, “I was angry when I heard the news that Kaizer Chiefs will be playing home games at the Cape Town Stadium. My teammates were also mad when we heard the reports. How can a Gauteng team come and play their home games in Cape Town? My teammates were going crazy!” …well, says it all. For Ajax Cape Town, this has now become about geography. Every time Ajax walks out onto the pitch against Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town, they are in a battle for ownership of the football fan-base. They are in a battle to show that the football played by players wearing the famous black and gold is no better than that played by players wearing the red and white. And if the last couple of encounters are anything to go by, they may just be on their way to showing Cape fans exactly that.

This week I’d also like to share some news about an awesome Soccer Laduma initiative called Laduma Library, which has now been extended to members of the Soccer Laduma Supporters Club. Championing the Laduma Library campaign from Soccer Laduma’s team is Nawal du Toit, whose vision it is to make books available to those who don’t easily have access to reading material in their areas, or are nowhere close to a library. The ultimate goal is to develop access to reading, whether it be for pure enjoyment or for education and upliftment.

Laduma Library, in association with FUNDZA, launched in mid-August 2015. Phase one was to open Laduma Library in three of our Supporters Club branches, namely Cape Town, Gauteng and the North West province. Feedback received from the branch managers involved in the first rollout is that the initiative is flying. Having now established libraries in Gauteng, the Western Cape and the North West, we are poised on introducing this concept to other regions in the near future. For those of you wanting to help Laduma Library grow, the challenges we are facing at the moment include a lack of books across all age groups, including adults. Also we require books for lower grades, in particular at primary school level. So if you can help us grow this initiative in any way, please email me on clint@soccerladuma.co.za.

Finally, some of you may not know that, besides reporting on soccer, most of us here at Soccer Laduma consider ourselves top footballers who would be playing professionally (ha, ha) if we weren’t so busy reporting soccer news to you. As such, we play in the weekly Fives Futbal league here in Cape Town and on Monday night we were crowned champions of our league. To our German coach (and international web editor) David Kappel, well done to you and the lads!

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