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Baroka hits the big time

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They took the Gauteng clubs out to Durban at the weekend where the Telkom Cup semi-final match rightly became a national event

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From the look of things everybody associated with Saturday’s blockbuster delivery of the Premier Soccer League’s Telkom Knockout Cup competition walked away a winner from that spectacle.

To start with, the competition organisers and the PSL bigwigs wisely decided to “nationalise” this derby event between what are fundamentally Gauteng-based football clubs. I kid you not, the plan worked like a bomb. So it won’t be out of the ordinary to see this derby going down on your doorstep next, huh?

The organisers did what every fan based outside of Gauteng has always dreamed of, or even penned a pleading or angry worded letter to the PSL, or either Kaizer Motaung or Irvin Khoza, to please kindly consider hosting the derby at poor and dusty Pofadder, green Mqanduli or Lusikisiki, as an alternative venue for the derby.

At least the top guys seem to have heeded that call. They took the Gauteng clubs out to Durban at the weekend where the Telkom Cup semi-final match rightly became a national event. Thank you.

I am not sure whether the organisers had hit upon the plan to treat the derby as a brand in its own right or was it an attempt to scrape for very scarce money from an old and trusted source like this to bankroll their affairs? Whichever it is, I will encourage them never to abandon this plan.

The sponsor, Telkom, got a lot of what they bargained for. The stands at the Moses Mabhida stadium had fans sitting bum to bum, and armpit to armpit. There was just no time and space to even make a dash to the bathroom.

As for the fans, you must have seen the viral video of the fan in nice shorts who was so out of it he “sommer” did the “wee-wee” right there by his seat among the thousands of other fans. He had consumed too much of the other national sponsor’s brew and he let go a full tank right there on the stands, without even undoing his wardrobe at that.

Phew! I doubt he saw much of what was happening on the pitch.

You can well imagine that those who were a little better organised for the occasion did not want to shift from their seating once the action had started for fear of losing their hard-won place among the cheering crowds. The situation in front of the tellies, both legit and pirate, was even worse.

But the biggest winner on the day is the club from Ga Mphahlele. One gets the sense that this club is doing more to put that area on the map than any agency of whatever description can ever do. Ga Mphahlele is not really one specific place but rather a chiefdom comprised of a group of villages and dorpies spread south and eastward of the town Polokwane in a roughly 100km radius.

Soon even Google maps will be able to give you the place in an instant instead of the old reproduction of maps still labelled Northern Province.

That is by the way. Back to the game.

Baroka has with this win over Bidvest Wits on Sunday graduated to the big time. It has been a seven-year try and try again labour for them.

Come the final, whatever the result, they will be the “winners” and will be twice so if they tied one over Orlando Pirates.

As for you and I, we can be proud that our football delivers the thrills and spills on the critical times that it should. Viva to that!