Another low-scoring drawn derby has come and gone with nary a feather ruffled; so the question remains: Is it (still) worth the bother or all the hype?
Several pointers indicate the Soweto Derby is at risk of loosing its shine and might soon become just another game of football. Here I dare venture a few:
1. The lacklustre build up is a both a sham and a shame for such a spectacle of international proportions
2. The cosy over-friendliness that sees bosses smiling, players fraternising and fans mingling in the stands have all but reduced whatever remained of the so-called rivalry to a picnic
3. The less said about the coaches, their respective benches and their just-playing-to-avoid-loosing approach, the better
4. Perhaps there are too many derbies - consider this, in the past 6 months since the end of July to the end of January, the teams have played no less than 4 times - therefore players and coaches could have a case to be forgiven for over-familiarity usurping rivalry
5. Shared sponsors: I mean, really now, if that isn't product convergence, I do not know what is - even big business tacitly acknowledge that what we have here aren't sworn enemies but two sides of the same coin and they stand to gain whichever way it spins
6. Officiating : whilst I am not advocating a return to the era of chairs being ripped off to make a bonfire, I also get the feeling no referee spends any sleepless night anymore as it is no longer a needle encounter of yesteryear anymore
7. Mascots and fans: the era of abo-Muguyo, Nyawana, Sadaam, Mzion, etc has given way to forgettable wannabe wallpaper individuals whose attempts at hyping it up are both pathetic and laughable
8. Publicity: the likes of Ewert Nene, Sprinter Shakoane, Thabiso Parkies, Putco Mafani, etc have give up the Mickey in favour of latter day publicists who believe in social media rather than the hype of flesh, blood and laughter
9. Attire: sometimes the kit sponsors from hell seem bent on destroying the brand loyalty in their pursuit for profits. I mean, really guys, Ezimyamangenkani sounds a bit hollow at times and so does Love & Peace in navy, pleeeease!
10. Mediocre on-field displays: that a defensive midfielder replaced the goalkeepers as man of the match says a lot about the product on offer. The goals have dried up and some nonchalantly resort to parking the proverbial bus once they score a fluke in the first half hour, thereby subjecting the rest of the world to a dour affair for the remaining hour
I don't know, but some of our kids will begin wondering what the frenzy is all about and tell us to forget it, it's just another 3 points!