Football all over the world always offers the most beautiful and exciting moments when it comes to football derbies from the same suburb or intercity rivals just like the derby d’italia and the El Clasico in Spain.
Rivalry in football is one beautiful and essential aspect of the game, which comes with the thrills of witnessing a rival club lose to the other rival when a match between them comes to town.
Here on the continent, some of the legendary and long-standing derbies include the Soweto derby, Ashante derby. As other matches are given much importance and attention as those derbies because they are more than just a match as the pride of the clubs and fans is always at stake whenever some of those derbies come to town.
In this piece, we look at some of the most prestigious, famous, and sought after football derbies on the continent of Africa which gives the fans some sense of bragging rights.
Al Ahly vs Zamalek – (Cairo Derby, Egypt )
The Cairo derby is arguably the biggest derby in Egypt, and it’s been playing between the two most successful clubs in Egypt and to some extent Africa, both clubs were named by CAF as the best club side of the 20th century respectively based on their antecedent and reputation on the continent.
To say this derby is fiery would be an understatement, as North Africa is known for its passionate fans and their love for football which we’ve seen many times at some of the AFCOB competition hosted in the North, 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 Spain or Italy were former players of Inter Milan can be seen to later play for Milan, and vice versa in Spain for Barcelona and Real Madrid, but players of both Cairo based teams dare not cross the city divide and play for their city rival.
Over the years, the derby has transcended religion, ideology, and the colors of red and white and is also considered the most-watched derbies.
As the highlight of the football season in Egypt with a wide live broadcast to the Middle East and Northern African countries since the ’70s, and it’s usually been played twice each season, but sometimes it goes beyond that when they meet in Cup matches and in Africa’s most prestigious club tournament. ‘The CAF Champions League’.
Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates – (Soweto Derby, South Africa)
The Soweto derby is South Africa’s two most historically successful clubs, both situated in the town of Soweto, Johannesburg. The derby is also often contested in the 90,000 seater FNB Stadium in order to accommodate the large crowds that come to see their darling team play.
This derby has witnessed notable incidents that happened in the past, which includes two major riots ‘The Ellis Park and Orkney Stadium Disaster’, both riots did occur during the derby as the death toll of over 42 to 43 people respectively were recorded.
According to report, the derby is less than 40 years old or thereabout, with the first games played back in 1970, which served the fans what to always look forward to, as it showed passion and intensity of the fans to make it one of the biggest club derbies in Africa and the world.
On every matchday of the derby, the atmosphere does not disappoint, with different costumes on display coupled with ears disturbing sounds of the famous vuvuzela ringing out around the stadium as fans rivalry rekindle.
And so far since the first derby was played, the rivalry between the two clubs has come with great passion and enthusiasm as the derby remains one of the most followed and watched football derbies in Africa and South Africa.
Club Africain vs Esperance – (Tunis Derby, Tunisia)
Ironically, both clubs were founded a year apart, Club Africain in 1920 and Esperance in 1919. And, since they were founded their rivalry has been so hot, and it always comes with a lot of passion and enthusiasm from the players who are the main protagonist and of course the supporters of both teams.
The ‘Tunis Derby‘ has something similar to that of Milan Derby, as Club Africain and Espérance are located in the same city, and they also play their home games in the same stadium (Stade El Menzah).
However, the only difference is that on derby days the match is been played at a bigger stadium which can accommodate close to 60,000 spectators of both teams.
The Tunis derby is also seen as a clash between the lower class of Esperance and the upper class of Club African.
Over the years Esperance has shown with their performance, results, and achievements both in the league and on the continent that they ain’t the lower class based club as they’ve been tagged.
Wydad Casablanca vs Raja Casablanca – (Casablanca Derby, Morocco)
The Casablanca Derby is regarded as an International derby between the two biggest Moroccan club sides Raja and Wydad, as the derby usually comes with a fierce and terrifying atmosphere at the Stade Mohammed V, which is the main stadium for the derby.
Casablanca derby often comes with massive national media coverage, and it’s usually the topic of town in the build-up to the derby, as fans of both clubs in the city go head to head just like most of the derbies we see across the world which comes with riots, fight, and fire flare among the club supporters.
The first derby played between both clubs was in 1956 which Raja was victorious, and since then Raja has always dominated the derby with 39 victories compared to Wydad victory of 32. In 2019 the two rival teams met in the quarter-finals of the Arab Club Championship which was the first derby outside their local competition.
Simba S. C. vs Young Africans – (Dar’ es Salam Derby, Tanzania)
The Dar’es Salam derby is no doubt one of the biggest derbies in East Africa, and as such millions of fans of both team troop in from neighboring countries like Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Kenya just to have a taste of what the derby will serve, as it is eagerly anticipated by fans of Young Africans who are known as ‘Yanga’ and the Simba faithful.
The derby which is also known as Kariakoo derby has seen so many great moments, between the two biggest Tanzania club sides over the years. Which has also seen over 100th matches between them since 1965, with the Yanga’s winning over 36 games, Simba 26, and over 37 draws.
Up to date, the derby has produced over 45 league titles in between them and 11 Cecafa region cup. And for the records, the Yanga has won over 27 league titles to that of Simba’s with 18. Meanwhile, Simba has more bragging rights on the Kagame Cup with six titles, and Yanga with just five to their name.
However, when it comes to titles won since the inception of both teams, Yanga has won more trophies compared to Simba.
Gor Mahia vs AFC Leopards – (Nairobi Derby, Kenya)
The Nairobi derby is popularly known as the Mashemeji derby or the Ingo-Dala derby, and it is the most fierce, biggest, football derbies, and oldest rivalry in Kenyan football history up to date. Local fans are often referred to as Ingwe for Leopards fans and K’Ogalo for Gor Mahia respectively.
Both teams have been bitter rivals since they first locked horns in 1968, a match that was marred by a fan riot orchestrated by Gor Mahia fans after one of their players was shown a red by the ref following a dangerous tackle on Leopards player.
The derby has produced over 88 match meetings between them, with Gor Mahia winning the Kenya League a record 18 times, while Leopards has 12 titles to their name as of the 2019 season in the league.
Meshemeji derby also has a strong history concerning the fan base, which has something to do with the tribe both teams came from. As Gor Mahia fan base is predominantly dominated by the Luo while the AFC Leopards fan base is mostly Luhya which even makes the derby more fierce and terrifying.
Gor Mahia has always been on the receiving end of the law for fans hooliganism compared to the AFC Leopards fans.
SC Villa vs Express FC – (Kampala Derby, Uganda)
The Kampala derby is one of the undisputed club rivalries in Uganda, although the derby is currently not living up to the billing as it’s gradually fading due to the weaknesses at both clubs in terms of management and organization.
Over the years, the derby has always come with a fierce atmosphere with both fans of the team always at the edge of their seat, even the fear of the derby got to the referees as they always have the fear of being beaten by the fans.
Express FC usually boasts of a bigger fan-based than that of SC Villa, which always makes a good case for the Red Eagles anytime they meet.
Also Express is the oldest football club as both clubs have 18 years of seniority in between them, and the Red Eagles don’t usually fail to exercise their seniority when it feels convenient and suitable for them.
Hearts Of Oak vs Asante Kotoko – (Ghana Derby, Ghana)
When talking about a country with great and fierce local derby in Africa, Ghana is no exception to the impact of rivalry on football. As the beautiful game in the West African country was built on local rivalries to generate much excitement for the fans.
The first local derby was in 1958, which was the first Ghanaian topflight league match which was organized after struggles in organizing 1956-57, which the organizers ensured that the matchday one were fixtures involving all the local derbies in the four main traditional inclined soccer enthusiast cities in Ghana.
Although, Accra is 248 kilometers away or thereabout to Kumasi, yet the country produced the two biggest teams with Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko which has been the long-time rivals going back decades, and both clubs have the country’s biggest fan base.
The last decade of this derby hasn’t come with clamor and panache, in terms of organization and management wise. However, the derby can’t be denied of its status as the most successful domestic club derby in the land which also attracts huge fans from Accra and Kumasi which is the two largest cities in Ghana.
When it comes to the title won and most successful team, Asante Kotoko is the most successful of the two clubs with 25 league titles, five more than that of Hearts, and more so in 2019 Kotoko won the league to lay claim to their supremacy
Al Merrick vs Al Hilal – (Omdurman Derby, Sudan)
The Omdurman derby is a historic match between the two strongest clubs in Sudan, both teams are based in the same city, with Al Hilal with the most titles in the league and Al Merrick settling with the most Sudan cup.
The derby was first played in 1934, a match in which Al Merrick defeated Al Hilal. The derby is known historically as the derby of the Green Grass Market due to the fact that there were no stadiums as at the time which the match was held in Omdurman, the national capital of Sudan.
Till date, the Green Grass Market is still very much popular among the fans because it was the actual start of a rivalry between the two famous club sides in Sudan.
Since the inception of the derby, fans of both clubs have seen over 152 derby match between the two teams, as Al Merrick has won over 54 matches, three more than their arch-rivals, and 46 draws in between them.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
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Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.