JOHANNESBURG – “It’s probably better because it doesn’t get as much of a crowd, that’s the harsh reality,” SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler said with a chuckle in response to why the Tshwane derby is more entertaining than the Soweto derby.
Despite producing a more entertaining spectacle with goals and rarely a stalemate, the derby from the capital city is still dwarfed by the Soweto derby that critics call “drawby”, due to the high number of draws that Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have played to.
Tinkler was involved in a number of those “drawbys” in his time at Pirates.
On Saturday, he will be in his first Tshwane derby in Matsatsantsa’s clash with Mamelodi Sundowns at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in their league season opener.
The hype leading up to this match hasn’t been as intense as the Soweto derby, which is normally the case, and the Atteridgeville arena is unlikely to be packed to capacity.
But the thousands who will make the trip will be thoroughly entertained by the rivals of the only South African city to produce two quarter-finalists in the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup in the same year.
Tinkler believes that the lack of fanfare around the Tshwane derby is the reason it’s a more entertaining match.
“Playing in front of packed stadiums is what motivates players,” Tinkler said. “But I think that there is this thing, to a degree, where you can’t lose (a Soweto derby).
“But somebody has to lose. The Soweto derby has that problem. Nobody wants to lose because you know what the repercussions of losing it are, it’s always negative.
“That’s why it tends to not produce the type of football that everybody wants to see.
“It doesn’t matter that it was an entertaining game with a lot of goals for the team that loses. Even though the game will come in a couple of months later again and you get an opportunity to turn it around.
“If you take that type of pressure off the players, it turns it into a better spectacle. That’s what makes the Tshwane derby an open and more entertaining game.”
Tinkler has a tough act to follow, inheriting a team that won the Nedbank Cup and are in the quarter-finals of the Confederation Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
The main target for SuperSport is winning the league title that has eluded them since 2010, while Tinkler wants to finally win the Confederation Cup after losing in the final with Pirates in 2015.
Matsatsantsa are also in the semi-finals of the MTN8.
“You want to leave a legacy wherever you go,” Tinkler said. “As a coach and as a player, you want to be remembered.
“Here in South Africa, it is easy to be called a legend. We call somebody who has played for a club a legend. No! You are a legend if you have left something behind, won titles and big competitions.
“That makes you a legend, in my opinion. That’s what we would like to achieve at SuperSport, get into the MTN8 final, win it and of course win the Caf Confederation Cup.
“That would be a massive continental trophy that would be my first as a coach, and would be a first for most of the players.”