El Clasico + Ziwa Mo = soccer bonanza

2010-11-28 13:32

Sports connoisseurs will be spoilt for choice this coming week with a bumper programme starting with the El Clasico – Barcelona vs Real Madrid – tomorrow.

And then on Saturday Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will lock horns for the fifth time since August as they vie for R4.25 million winnings in the Telkom Knockout at the FNB Stadium.

What’s more, this happens on the penultimate day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge that celebrates 30 years in style at Sun City’s lush Gary Player Golf Course and features world number one Lee Westwood in a field of 12 golfers.

The Challenge runs from Thursday to Sunday, which already means that Chiefs and Pirates bosses Kaizer Motaung and Irvin Khoza, known golf addicts, will be forced to juggle their travel arrangements to be at the Mzansi soccer mecca without missing a round of their other favourite pastime outside Rustenburg.

Tomorrow’s clash, also known as the El derbi Espanol, will be number 161 since Madrid were founded in 1902 following Barca, who were established by a group of Swiss, English, and Catalan men led by Joan Gamper in 1899.

Madrid currently have the bragging rights as they have won 68 of their league meetings since the first on February 17, 1929. Barcelona have won 62, with 30 ending in a deadlock.

While Barcelona have become a Catalan institution, hence the motto Mes que un club – more than a club – their foes, who were initially baptised Madrid Foot Ball Club but were later given the name “Real”, which is the Spanish term for “royal”, by King Alfonso XIII in 1920 together with the royal crown in their emblem that they carry to date, have become a mighty force in world football.

It has also been voted by Fifa as the most successful club of the 20th century, having won a record 31 La Liga titles, 17 Spanish ­“Copa del Rey” Cups, a record nine Uefa Champions Leagues, two Uefa Cups, one Uefa Supercup and three Intercontinental Cups. It is against this background that the clubs that were from the onset seen as representatives of two rival Spanish regions, Catalonia and Castile, will no longer divide just the two cities of Barcelona and ­Madrid when they meet tomorrow but the entire globe.

Here at home one runs out of adjectives to describe the rivalry that has ensued between Amabhakabhaka and Amakhosi since erstwhile Pirates star Motaung decided to go his own way and form the Kaizer XI in 1970.

That the two clubs’ bosses are also powerful individuals in soccer, with Khoza, also known as “The Iron Duke” of SA football being the PSL chairperson as well as a Safa vice-president and Motaung the league’s finance committee chairperson, the rivalry runs right from the top. The current generation will know that it walks in the golden footsteps left by the likes of Shakes Mashaba, Jomo Sono ­(Pirates) as well as Nelson ­“Teenage” Dladla and the late Patrick “Ace” Ntsoelengoe (Chiefs).

Given the two clubs’ current form no other match would be able to fill the venue to the brim should they fail do so.

The Fifa executive committee will make football history in ­Zurich on Thursday when it names the host countries for the World Cups of 2018 and 2022.

The decisions rest with the 22 members of the committee who remain after two of their colleagues were suspended for offering their votes for money.

England, Russia and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium contest the right to host the 2018 finals while Japan, South Korea, United States, Australia and Qatar are in the running for 2022. And then there is the small matter of the legacy left by one of the greatest South Africans, Sol ­Kerzner.

What started as the “Million Dollar” challenge in 1981 with a field of five top golfers has today grown to be one of the major events in the world sporting ­calendar.

If you see a sports fan, whether it is one of those who go to the stadium or a couch potato, licking their lips in a fashion similar to a cat that has just feasted on cream, don’t blame them.

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