Soweto giants have lost their fearsome aura

Like many top football leagues in the world, the DStv Premiership could use a little vava voom. Yesterday, the biggest match in SA football, the Soweto derby rolled into town without much fanfare.  

The two former glamour clubs were just huffing and puffing for mid-table crumbs – they are no longer eating from the top table after they were dislodged due to their short-sightedness in the last 10 years or so.   

 The competition and the rivalry on the field died many years ago when Mamelodi Sundowns’ long-term, well-thought plans and strategies came to frui-tion. The dominance was started by coach Pitso Mosimane who turned Sundowns into a well-oiled, mean machine of today.  

 Like in those tawdry karate movies, Master Mosimane, who was to embark on a Middle East sojourn, handed the reins to one of his students Rulani Mokwena. The slightly built Mokwena did not waste the golden opportunity, he grabbed the baton and ran with it like a greyhound.  

 Rivalries in SA diski seem to have died down, mostly because of Masandawana taking over as the new crown prince of Mzansi football.  

The two biggest clubs in the country have been reduced to mere spectators when it comes to winning trophies, relevance and domination. Back in the day, Soweto derbies would be encapsulated by huge rivalries. 

There used to be  Gavin “Stability Unit” Lane versus Pollen Ndlanya, Jerry Sikhosana against Brian Baloyi, Doctor “16V” Khumalo facing Teboho Moloi, Steve “Chippa” Lekoelea and Thabo “Tsiki-Tsiki” Mooki to mention but a few. But these days, it’s just a drab affair and a minor event that has to fight with other inconsequential events for media space.  

 Even the coaches are not giving us any excitement. Pirates coach Jose Riveiro can send you to snoozeville with his repertoire. Amakhosi’s Cavin Johnson is still disoriented; he is not sure he will be the head coach next season.  

Only TS Galaxy and Mokwena are giving us something exciting to write about. Their rivalry is the only one worth mentioning in one of the continent’s brightest leagues. The world has given us Alex Ferguson versus Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola’s confrontations with Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal’s encounters against Vicente del Bosque.  

The tension between Ramovic and Mokoena has been brewing for some time. We were denied a match where sparks were bound to fly on Thursday by an unfortunate road crash  involving a Galaxy bus and a car, leaving  players traumatised after a motorist lost her life. The much-anticipated match was then postponed.  

The two coaches have been at each other’s throats like rival gangsters. Ramovic, who has turned Galaxy into a competitive outfit, felt disrespected by Mokwena after The Rockets dumped the star-studded Brazilians out of the Carling Knockout Cup. 

Mokwena commented that he missed seven of his star players who were not available.  

The German-Serbian coach did not take kindly to those remarks, saying that Sundowns have a big budget and a squad big enough to win every match. 

Ramovic added that Mokwena did not give Galaxy credit for the defeat but he instead looked for excuses.  

Fuel was put into the fire when expletives and unprintable words were thrown about and family members mentioned. 

 In responding, Mokwena described Ramovic as an attention seeker and asked the media to give him some publicity.  

All these ingredients had made for a midweek thriller, unlike the Soweto derby, which is as dead as the dodo.  

We can only pray that the two former glamour clubs can wake up and revive the good old days – in our lifetime, hopefully. 

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