This week, one of SA’s football icons made the bold claim that the Soweto Derby was living on sentiment, effectively dying.
Marks Maponyane was quoted in local media saying that the biggest fixture in SA’s football calendar between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, was surviving on its history and emotional connection from years gone by.
Quite blunt and almost cruel from someone’s who played in that clash for both sides in the early 80s and 90s.
Stuart Baxter, a man who knows all too well about the derby having been involved in at least seven of them in his previous spell at Chiefs, was asked to respond to Maponyane’s honest and almost stinging opinion.
To twist the knife in further, the legend said Mamelodi Sundowns have eclipsed the two Soweto clubs as the most successful team in the Premier Soccer League era.
“I don’t think the question is harsh, I think it’s real and one we should take to our hearts and address,” Baxter said when asked for his thoughts on Maponyane’s comments.
“Chiefs and Pirates have had their issues, absolutely. You can look at it and say Rangers and Celtic is a top game, Barcelona and Real Madrid is usually a top game – all the derbies, Tottenham versus Arsenal is threating to be an also-ran. I think the Soweto derby can manage this sort of situation for a while, but not forever. People will say “it’s not the derby” and will say Chiefs against Sundowns or Pirates against Sundowns is the big one, even though, traditionally, it’s not. I think it’s a real question and one we have to take to our hearts and address. The only way to address it is get better, don’t get angry, get better.”
Sundowns have won the league four seasons in a row and are currently top of the table, unbeaten in eight matches so far!
Is the Soweto Derby dying?
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