Nothing beats a seat among Siwelele

2009-11-14 14:08

‘WHAT was the ­final score and who scored?” asked one Bloemfontein Celtic supporter at full-time after the game between Orlando Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium last Sunday which the Buccaneers won 3-1.

“Monna re jelwe” – Man we lost – was the response from one of my friends.

As bizarre as it might sound, this is a reflection of what actually happens at Celtic games, as supporters chant throughout the game and do not follow the proceedings on the field of play.

I attended that game at Orlando Stadium in my capacity as a ­supporter and put my money on Celtic.

I have always wanted to experience being amongst a sea of Celtic supporters, so when the offer to attend the game came, I opted to swap my press pass for an “extra-strong” ticket.

I was not going to miss the opportunity to experience what my friends have often told me about and I wanted to give a first-hand ­account.

I have always imagined what it is like to be in the sea of green and white of Siwelele.

To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement, I was over the moon and wished it would never end.

Life in the press box is ­boring because all you do as a scribe is concentrate on the match and give a minute-by-minute account of the game.

It is a different ball game altogether in the stands, especially with Celtic’s ­vibrant supporters.

It was certainly a worthy exercise although at the end of the day my feet were sore from standing throughout the match.
Getting there just after kick-off, me and my Fat Cats FC – our social football club – and family members manoeuvred through the supporters until we got a vantage spot among the fans.

When I saw Bota, the popular Celtic supporter renowned for his theatre caps, an arm’s length from where we were standing, I knew we were in the right place.

As song after song was sung, we joined the chorus singing our lungs out, jumped with joy, danced and did everything that was there to be done without actually following the proceedings on the field of play.

Whether you know the song or not does not matter, as you end up joining the chorus.

There is a song that may be belted out inside the field for any occasion that may arise. After Pirates had scored the first goal, we sang about never losing hope.

And we didn’t.

There are also unprintable words aimed at whoever crosses paths with them.

One unlucky supporter wearing a Celtic jersey but with Kaizer Chiefs glasses was scorned. There was even a tune to the effect that ‘you can see if someone is not one of us’.

As the game progressed and Bucs scored their second goal, we kept singing and urged our players to push harder.
If only the players knew what goes on in the supporters’ collective mind and what they really think of them, they would pull up their socks and die with their boots on rather than offer the lacklustre performance they dished out this past ­weekend.

A good 30 minutes after the final whistle we were still there, singing loudly, this time joined by a few ­Pirates’ supporters who could not help but sing along.

If you can’t beat them, join them, seems to be what Celtic supporters are preaching.

Celtic fans have really changed the mind-set of fans as everybody, including opposing teams supporters, are welcome to join the festivities without any fights.

A day well-spent, indeed!

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