JOHANNESBURG – Another Soweto derby. Facepalm.
You guessed it, I am not swinging on the chandeliers with excitement. I have a feeling all we are going to see on Saturday between Kaizer Chiefs and traditional rivals Orlando Pirates is the modern-day footballer who is eager to show off his multiple tattoos and new range of boots from personal sponsors Nike, Adidas and Puma.
Seriously, don’t hold your breath.
The most we are likely to get out of this “event” at the FNB Stadium is the halftime entertainment from some of SA’s finest musicians.
It’s been sometime since this fixture has sparkled. And this has become a serious pet peeve of mine.
The Premiership needs Chiefs and Pirates to be at the top of their game consistently, but it often feels like these players just don’t get it.
If they showed as much enthusiasm on the pitch – on derby day especially – as they did on Instagram, we would be in for one crazy ride. I am talking about edge-of-the-seat stuff.
But quickly glance at their social media videos, win or lose, after the match and you will see it’s always buzzing. They are celebrities more than they are footballers these days.
That right there is sometimes what is wrong with the game today.
I am obviously hoping this Saturday is a little different. Anyone would take a draw if there’s a bit of fight, if it is thrilling and ultimately your money’s worth, much like the Soweto Derby of old.
A Chiefs and Pirates match could potentially split families for the entire weekend – more if there’s a winner of the day.
Don’t get me wrong, that is still the case even today, although this now seems to emanate from tradition rather than the form of the two teams over the last three years or so.
The hype has been minimal this week, maybe partly because of the midweek fixtures. Chiefs took on Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday night in Tshwane, and their beleaguered coach Steve Komphela needed no distractions as he attempts to stay on the Amakhosi payroll.
For me, it’s a blessing in disguise when the Soweto Derby is low-key. Sometimes prima donnas step up when the spotlight is moved away from them for a little while.
They feel they have an incredible task of winning the spectators back, even if it’s to enjoy a few more Twitter and Instagram followers.
Chiefs and Pirates players have the delightful task of winning us over again. And I am not being sarcastic here.
They really have their work cut out. Can they get celebrities like Khanyi ‘Queen of Bling’ Mbau, seated in the VIP suites with her entourage, to watch the full 90 minutes without attempting to take one more selfie to break the internet?
It’s a tall order. But these players owe us that much. There will be busloads coming in from all over the country just for this game.
And occasionally, there are spectators from different countries as well, people from all walks of life.
We all deserve a lot better.