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It Was A Good Weekend To Be South African

I must make a confession: this weekend I began my sports betting career. I only put money on local football and I lost all my cash, and yet I could not be happier…

This weekend was truly magnificent from a football supporter's perspective. It was less fortunate from a betting perspective, as I thought I would do all the safe bets, but football, as it turns out, is never a safe bet.

Starting with Highlands Park against Chippa United, few would have predicted, with the fine form the Chilli Boys are in, that they could be on the losing side. However, Gordon Igesund's reign as coach of the Lions of the North started fruitfully with a 2-0 win.

Then we come to the Bidvest Wits against Free State Stars. One would think that only a miracle could stop the footballing genius of Gavin Hunt, especially after the game finished 0-0 in normal time. Those who stuck around for the (usually dreary) extra-time would have been rewarded with a four-goal spectacle as Free State Stars walked away with a 3-1 victory.

Golden Arrows versus Orlando Pirates was a tough one to call from the beginning, but football was the real winner here as the Buccaneers edged out Arrows 2-1, but all three goals were out-of-the-top-drawer screamers.

Baroka FC against Platinum Stars was truly something that puts a smile on the heart of anyone who is seduced by the underdog. Many have been doubting Baroka's ability to play top-flight football; after their promotion from the NFD last season, many predicted the honeymoon would soon be over. However, they delivered a good 3-1 hammering to seasoned campaigners Dikwena. More fantastic goals, and more fairytales.

Then we come to the moment of the weekend: Mamelodi Sundowns being crowned the CAF Champions League winners. The enormity of this achievement will probably only be realised in the days or weeks to come. However, the history books will tell you that this is probably the most momentous thing to happen to South African football in a good 20-something years.

All credit and congratulations must go to Pitso Mosimane and his brave soldiers, as well as Patrice Motsepe for keeping the ship afloat. The scenes of Sundowns' 3-0 hammering of Zamalek in the first leg will be printed into the history books next to the grainy photos of Jerry Sikhosana, Edward Motale, and Mark Fish lifting the cup for Orlando Pirates in 1995.

In times of economic and political uncertainty and instability, it is a tough to be a South African, but football is the remedy of most things painful. This is why we owe a debt to Sundowns – they are a beacon of hope for the country.

It was a good weekend to be South African.

Much love,

Nikolaos Kirkinis

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