José Mourinho as the new Manchester United manager has already got tongues wagging about the prospects for next season’s Manchester derby.
He’ll battle with Pep Guardiola of Manchester City for the bragging rights of the city of Manchester in next season’s Barclays Premier League.
This rivalry however will not just be about the coaches. For most – if not every football fan out there, derby day is a day of local pride. It is an opportunity to defeat the sworn enemy or the favourite foe. They are one of the first dates to be penned in the season’s calendar and they attract fan and media attention from millions around the world.
Although the famous derbies of clubs in Western Europe are easily named by fans across the world and Africa included, with notable derbies including the Milan derby, Barca-Madrid, Paris-Marseille, to name a few, those on the African continent do not get the mention and recognition they deserve.
These rivalries in Africa are equally as intense and skin deep as their European counterparts, with emotions running high to palpable levels. TRUE Africa celebrates five of these famous derbies.
To say this derby is fiery would be an understatement. North Africa is known for its passionate fans, and it is no surprise to see two of the greatest teams in Africa contest the battle for supremacy of the ancient city of Cairo.
This derby is so fierce and has led to so much violence in the past that the game between these two teams is now played on neutral ground in Cairo’s main stadium behind closed doors. Unlike the derbies in Italy where former players of Milan can be seen to later play for Inter, and vice versa, players of both Cairo-based teams dare not cross the city divide. This is a derby that transcends religion, ideology and the colours of red and white.
Although the Soweto derby is less than 40 years old – with the first game played back in 1970 – the intensity and passion shown by the team’s supporters makes this one of the biggest derbies in the world. On match day, the atmosphere does not disappoint, with different costumes on display coupled with deafening sounds of the famous vuvuzela ringing out around the stadium.
The rivalry between Orlando Pirates and Kiazer Chiefs is played out in the FNB stadium, which packs about ninety-four thousand frenzied fans, and was home to Soccer City during the 2010 World Cup.
Founded a year apart – Espérance (1919) and Club Africain (1920) – contest the Tunis derby. Club Africain and Espérance are not just located in the same city, just like the Milan teams, they play their home games in the same stadium, Stade El Menzah.
The only difference is that on derby days, the games are played at the bigger Stade Olympique de Rades, which can hold a capacity of 60,000. With a similar class undertone to the Cairo derby, the Tunis derby is one seen as a clash between the lower (Esperance) and the upper class (Club African).
Many fans will immediately recognise Raja Casablanca as the team, whose players upon defeating Ronaldinho’s Atlético Mineiro at the 2013 club World Cup, mobbed him and helped themselves to his football boots.
However, this is not all that there is to Raja, they also compete in the hotly contested Casablanca derby with Wydad Casablanca, in a derby that has been marginally dominated by Raja with 39 wins to Wydad’s 32.
Away from North Africa, this derby is without doubt, the biggest in East Africa. Known as the Dar Es Salaam derby, millions of Africans, from Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and all over the world eagerly anticipate the meeting between two of Tanzania’s biggest teams, Young Africans S.C. (known as Yanga) and Simba S.C.
The derby has so many great moments for the die-hard fans, nothing epitomises the emotions riding on this encounter like the video showing the inconsolable yanga fan lamenting, following his team’s defeat.