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ISSUES AT STAKE: Local is lekker…but not for football fans

They follow the football leagues of Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal. So why don’t these supposed soccer fans pitch up at the Thanda matches? Dave Savides voices his frustration

They follow the football leagues of Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal. So why don’t these supposed soccer fans pitch up at the Thanda matches? Dave Savides voices his frustration

ON any given Saturday or Sunday, you see them proudly walking through town in their replica soccer jerseys: Man United (who used to be great), Liverpool (come back Stevie Gerard), Arsenal (now on a Wenger and a prayer), Tottenham (Kane for the pain) and Chelsea (for the discerning connoisseur like me).
Some even have their favourite player’s name emblazoned on the back of the shirt – which (the shirt, that is) gets replaced every time a new one hits the market.
(Most often, more money is made from the merchandising than from the gate takings.)
They wear them with pride, regardless of whether they have just been thumped 3-0 by lowly opposition and were in fact lucky to get the nil.
They crow when they win and laugh it off when they lose. After all, they are true football lovers.
Before the weekend the talk is all about who will win. The bets are placed and in clubs and pubs where, with apologies to the late great Leonard Cohen, ‘the Johnny Walker wisdom’s running wild’.
It seems everyone is a fan and they’re all experts.
They love the game and rave about the goals, saves and performances.
So, here’s the sixty million dollar question: why don’t they attend the Thanda Royal Zulu matches?!
Like mosquitoes in the daytime, they disappear without a trace and are nowhere to be seen.
I’m speaking especially to my white friends and acquaintances, as well as my coloured and Indian buddies who share my love for the global game.
At times, it’s just Ernst Loser, Larry Bentley and I who stand out in the crowd with our pale faces.
Why is it that South African soccer doesn’t grab the attention of the greater number of football fans?
Especially when Thanda are playing the way they are at the moment.
Live games are infinitely better than watching on TV, and the atmosphere at the uMhlathuze Stadium – where the Amabhubesi are unbeaten – is brilliant!
The raucous, hard-core, singing and vuvuzela-ing fan club choir that sits above the players’ tunnel create the most amazing vibe, while on the field the players sparkle and shine with diamonds on the soles of their boots.
Get out of the Lazy-boy, lazy boys, there’s a team here fighting grandly for PSL promotion and you are debating faraway league results.
I could gladly give you a kick. Up the Arsenal!

 
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