Heita, Supporters Club. Every now and then we must stop and be appreciative of the effort other teams' supporters put in to give their side the edge. Today, we bring you the story of Baroka FC and a handful of beautiful supporters from Limpopo.
I was fortunate enough to be at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday to see the encounter between Baroka FC and Cape Town City. Of course, the stadium was not packed to the rafters; firstly, because Cape Town City are brand new and are just beginning to gain the trust of the city; and secondly, Baroka hail from Lebowakgomo, and no one would be crazy enough to make the journey down from that part of South Africa, right?
Well, it turns out there is a group that was. Led by Thabo Mabowa, about 20 Baroka supporters took the 19-hour bus ride down just to support Bakgaga in a regular league game.
It was a long trip but the energy of the supporters was never in question. They sang and danced for the entire game and never tired.
I think that made all the difference for Baroka on the field. As the singing grew, the first goal went in, and what followed was three minutes of madness. The supporters were still busy hugging each other when Bakgaga netted the second goal, and they went even crazier.
For those of you watching on TV, you may not have seen what happened next...
A supporter skipped the fence and made his way on to the field, hugged a player or two and then started darting in circles again, making fools of the security guards. He managed to side-step all of them and get off the field and, amazingly, hide within the 20-strong Baroka crowd. Security never found him. That's the first time I've seen a pitch invader get away with the transgression (you can see the perpetrator and his hugely deserved grin in the picture for this article).
What followed that was a consolidatory CTC goal to add to the entertainment.
The singing and dancing of the Baroka supporters continued well into the night. They were outnumbered five to one at the stadium but they stole the show with their beautiful rhythm and rhyme.
They helped their team to victory and then got back into their bus for the long ride back to return to their jobs today. Well done to the beautiful supporters – your dedication keeps South African football alive.
Did you see the game? What did you think of Baroka's performance against CTC?