Soweto derby goes global
The PSL’s ambition of international growth will receive an enormous boost this weekend with SuperSport supplying a feed of the Soweto derby to four ESPN broadband platforms, representing 19 countries.
The Kaizer Chiefs-Orlando Pirates derby, taking place on Saturday, will be telecast in Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the US. In the US alone, the ESPN platform represents 79 million homes.
SuperSport will also broadcast the UK derby between Manchester City and Manchester United on Sunday.
Having uniquely appeared in both the Manchester and Soweto football derbies, SuperSport analyst Gary Bailey believes that this weekend’s matches could potentially take the intensity of the rivalries to another level.
As they prepare for this weekend’s contests, all four rivals find themselves in strikingly similar situations – threatening to break away from the chasing pack at the summit of the Premier Soccer League and the English Premier League.
“It’s amazing how the two biggest clubs here in South Africa and in England are in such similar positions, slowly but surely pulling away,” said Bailey, who played in numerous such derbies. “With the teams in a two-horse fight, the weekend’s match-ups could see the team’s rivalries, especially among the fans in the stands, go up a notch.”
Despite competing at the elite level more than two decades ago, Bailey says the derbies remain among his most cherished memories. “The passion and the pressure were unbelievable and nothing’s changed. Sometimes it can be greater than a cup final. Big players thrive in such situations.”
In the Premier League, the gap between third-placed Chelsea and City and United is seven points while Chiefs and Pirates have put three points between them and third-placed Maritzburg United,
Bailey, who donned the red and white of Manchester between 1978 and 1987, and the gold and black of Soweto between 1988 and 1990, says it’s the constant tabs that the teams will have to keep on each other that will see the rivalries intensifies.
“Even though it’s still early in the season and the gap between the third-placed teams and the Soweto and Manchester rivals is not that great, both teams will look at each other as their main title rival and constantly keep a close eye on each other’s exploits. It’s this constant eye that will see the rivalries intensify.”
Pirates host Chiefs on Saturday while United travel to City on Sunday – both live and in HD on SuperSport.
BROADCAST DETAILS (all times are CAT, SA, GMT+2)
Saturday, December 8
Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs
SS2HD, SS4 (3:30pm)
Sunday, December 9
Manchester City v Manchester United
SS3HD, SS3, Maximo (3:30pm)