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'At Least Pirates Lost Passionately, Chiefs Just Had A Pap Season'

The secret is out and the world knows: the league is as good as done. Mamelodi Sundowns have been crowned champions of South Africa. It is also no secret that the so-called Soweto Giants have had a below-par season. Right now, they sit in fourth and sixth position on the log, hardly the most threatening teams in the land. As things stand, Orlando Pirates are placed below Kaizer Chiefs, but one supporter has suggested that Bucs have had a better season than Amakhosi, and I'm inclined to agree…

When new Soccer Laduma intern Celine Abrahams put up a blog post earlier today, it inspired me to do the same. What has truly inspired this, though, was a comment I heard from Orlando Pirates fan Gio de Waal, who said: "Pirates have had a poor season, no doubt, but at least when we lost, we lost passionately. Chiefs just had a pap season. I would rather watch my team get drilled 4-0 than be subjected to one of those 0-0 Kaizer Chiefs specialties… I would rather stare at my feet for 90 minutes." 

See, for me, football must be one of two things: it should either be winning football, or, failing that, it should at least be entertaining. If you fail to either win or be entertaining, well, that is just the ultimate sin. Chiefs may be placed higher than Pirates on the log, but I think the fans have got their money's worth watching Pirates more than Chiefs this season.

I am not the only one who thinks this. At the recent fixture between Amakhosi and Bloemfontein Celtic, there were probably less than a thousand people in the stands of the grand FNB Stadium. Here we have arguably the first and fourth most supported teams in South Africa playing in front of a gallery of empty orange plastic chairs. And I dont blame them, I found myself unable to hold back the yawns watching that flaccid game. Why would anyone pay money to go see that? These teams certainly cannot expect a roaring reception if they put on a show like that.

Not to glorify Pirates, because they have also had some abominable performances this season, but at least you can keep your eyes open watching them. Does anyone remember the thrilling 3-3 draw against Maritzburg United? The 4-1 thrashing of Golden Arrows or the 5-0 demolition of Jomo Cosmos? On top of this, during their games, we get treated to Thabo Rakhale or Thabo Qalinge doing some magic wizardry – even if the English tabloids don't understand it, we do and we love it.

What heightens this feeling is the fact that, this week, we have been studying the late, great Ace Ntsoelengoe and watching some old videos of his games for Amakhosi. Wow, what a player and what a time. That was a time when football and art were the same thing, and I can see hardly any element of those teams of yesteryear today...

Many football purists will tell you you should stick by your team no matter what, even if they are going through a bad patch. The difference between Chiefs and Pirates is that Amakhosi are not going through a bad patch, they are going through a boring patch. Pirates were going through a bad patch but seem to be on the path to recovery, so it is understandable that their supporters did not stray.

With the Glamour Boys, it is not a matter of pain in watching the team lose, it's just plain old plain watching them not score, or even come close, or even entertain us in the process. In my opinion, not going to watch Chiefs play is not a case of being a fair-weather supporter, it's just that there are more entertaining ways to spend your time… Like watching Pirates, or Maritzburg United, or mowing your lawn…


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