JOHANNESBURG – There is an unwritten rule in football which every self-respecting fan knows.
You don’t sit on the fence in a derby, you support one team or the other. Well, for me, it has generally been a huge struggle when it comes to the Limpopo derby –Baroka FC v Polokwane City – recent as it is.
Granted as a reporter I watch the game with impartiality so as to give a balanced report.
But as a fan, the two teams hold a special place in my heart and I am forever rooting for them. Unless they meet each other, as will be the case this week.
I spent my formative years in Ga-Rakgoatha village in Zebediela only to later move to Lebowakgomo near Ga-Mphahlele.
And when City – owned by Johnny Mogaladi who hails from Magatle, a stone’s throw from Ga-Rakgoatha – got promoted it was only natural to be drawn towards my ‘home team’.
And then Baroka made it to the elite league a little later on... Which ‘home team’ to back?
Well – while with Polokwane it was more the excitement of finally having a team from close by instead of individual players in the elite league ala Barnes Bapela and in the 80s, and Power Ledwaba of Kwikot Benoni United from our village – with Baroka, it went a little deeper than that.
You see, Bakgaga came into being primarily because of a club I played for, a club I was a founding member of.
Back in the late 80s we formed Flying Bees – a team so-called because it was made up of players from Unites F and B from Lebowakgomo.
We played in the Chappies Little League then and when some of us grew up and left for tertiary studies, the club continued to progress through the ranks.
And in 2007 when they won the playoffs to go into the SAB League, Khurishi Mphahlele approached the owner Mr Kekana (we call him, Kay) who struggled to financially keep the team afloat, and bought into the club.
Eventually Mphahlele took sole ownership of the club and renamed it Baroka FC, a club whose rise up the ranks is well-documented.
Flying Bees continues to be a feeder team to Baroka FC and a number of their players are in Bakgaga’s MDC side, with Kay hopeful that in no time some of them will be in the senior side.
⚽ | ONCE UPON A TIME DURACELL COACH SAID— #RiseAndShine (@polokwane_city) August 14, 2018
🍊“Why should I go to coaching school? Football is a calling for me. Those who want coaching courses must come to me.”🍊
🥅 🍊 vs 🔋
📆 18 Aug I ⌚15H00
🏟️ New Peter Mokaba Stadium
🔥 #KsazobaLitMolamo pic.twitter.com/E9PHXhBmhO
It is this relationship that often sways the fan in me more towards Baroka, though that allegiance towards Polokwane still remains.
Unlike me though, the people of Zebediela and Ga-Mphahlele are in no way conflicted, and you will see who they back based on the colour of their attires come Saturday.
Baroka fans will be clad in their green while the Polokwane faithful will be resplendent in their bright orange.
Among the many clubs who have long ditched the noisy vuvuzela, the two set of fans both have their own unique songs that they sing and chant to try spur their teams on, and you can bet on them bringing their voices to Saturday’s clash - the opening match of this season’s Premiership Woza Nazo campaign.
While Baroka have already won a match - they beat Cape Town City 2-1 - Polokwane are pointless after two matches and will be keen to get off the mark. It makes for a fascinating Polokwane derby, one whose outcome I dare not predict.
* This article is part of Independent Media’s partnership with Absa for the Woza Nazo campaign.@Tshiliboy