It’s a sad day when you can’t watch a local football match in your local bar

2014-02-08 00:00

A LONG-TIME friend of mine told me on Wednesday — my birthday — that he can’t recall me having ever had a birthday party. And upon thinking back, I realised that he was right. I can’t, no matter how hard I try, manage to feel anything at all on my day of celebration.

But there was reason for optimism on Wednesday night. After being dragged out reluctantly by a few mates, we found ourselves at at a popular curry house on Durban’s Florida Road. As good as the curry was, that wasn’t the reason for the mild excitement. PSL Wednesday was, and a desperate Golden Arrows were at Mamelodi Sundowns in a match they were never going to win.

The TVs were tuned to SuperSport Blitz, so I wandered over to the barman and asked him if he could put on the football. The conversation that followed was possibly the craziest thing I’ve ever heard at a sports bar.

“Whose playing?” asked the shaggy youngster.

“Arrows, Sundowns. I think it’s on SuperSport Select or something,” I replied.

And then it happened.

“Ah, no dude, we like, can’t put on any local football here. I’ve already told ous they can’t watch the Chiefs game so like, I can’t put on Arrows now cos they’ll get bummed. I can put on the FA Cup if you like, like.”

Apparently, the curry house on Florida Road has had issues in the past with local football matches. Once, they showed a Chiefs vs Pirates match, and they had to turn off the TVs and chase everybody out because Durban’s divided Soweto contingents were ready to straight-up murder each other. And, according to the shaggy barman, car guards line up next to the restaurant to get a view of the football. What!? Car guards!? We absolutely cannot have that!

So, instead of watching the football we were forced to converse while Blitz ran reruns in the background, which was fine, I suppose.

It’s just absurd that a well-known restaurant in the hub of Durban refused to show a live soccer match involving a Durban club.

Upon venting my outrage to anybody who would listen, I learnt that there are, in fact, a few spots in Durban with the same policy for the same reasons.

So, with my Will McAvoyesque (Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom) “mission to civilise” nicely laid out before me, I have two propositions.

Firstly, to the football fans who can’t handle their liquor, or defeat or the combination of liquor and defeat: don’t be idiots. You ruin it for the rest of us. It’s only a game and nothing warrants any misbehaviour.

Secondly, and more importantly, to the bars and restaurants that won’t show local football: if you advertise yourself as a sports bar, then you need to show sports. All sports. Make a plan. If you are having issues with anybody, then kick them out. I doubt very much that the great Soweto curry house riot of 1990-whatever will surface again. Give peace a chance. And, if you really are worried that things will boil over, then we might forgive you for not showing Chiefs vs Pirates. But if none of the 28 people in the stadium supporting Golden Arrows care what happens to their team, then I highly doubt that anybody in your bar will care enough to start throwing things around. Heck, even the car guards would rather watch a motionless vehicle than Arrows at the moment, so you won’t even have that problem.

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