Rivals who sleep together

2012-03-17 15:23

Despite Kaizer Chiefs being formed from breakaway players from Orlando Pirates in the early 70s, it was initially frowned upon to cross the floor between the two SA soccer giants.

However, this has happened so many times that even the two clubs’ fans – who were such bitter rivals that violence was a frequent occurence at their matches – have come to accept it as a reality.

That Chiefs and Pirates come from the same place – Soweto – was the only similarity. However, things have since changed considerably.

Not only do the two teams share a sponsor, but no less than 10 players have donned both teams’ colours, something one could have never imagined back then.

This was regarded as a serious crime as the two Soweto teams did not see eye to eye, to the extent that no player would dare dream of turning out for the other side, unless they wanted to be called “sell outs.”
Although not many players have moved directly from one side to the other, the exceptions are Jimmy Tau and Johannes “Big Boy” Kholoane.

It would be hard for millions of soccer lovers who had their eyes on yesterday’s Soweto Derby to determine which horse – or zebra – the likes of Marks Maponyane, Phumlani Mkhize, Marc Batchelor, Pollen Ndlanya and Marcus Mphafudi had their last buck on during the game.

This is because these five are among an elite group of players who have featured for both Pirates and Chiefs in their careers.

The others who share this rare distinction are the recently departed Thabang Lebese, current Chiefs captain Tau, Jabu Pule (Mahlangu), Stanton Fredericks, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Thembinkosi “Jomo” Biyela, Arthur Zwane, Elias “Shuffle” Mokopane and Kholoane.

Since the formation of Chiefs as a breakaway group from Bucs in 1970 and until the 80s, it was unimaginable for players to switch between the two teams, but the trend gained momentum in the 90s with Maponyane’s move.

After establishing himself as a household name with Amakhosi, Maponyane joined Pirates in 1993/1994 when his career neared its dissipating stage. He is still regarded as a Chiefs legend.

Thereafter a number of players changed the gold for white or vice versa on their playing kits, with only the black colour remaining the common denominator.

Only two players – Tau and Kholoane – moved directly from Parktown to Naturena or vice

But their transfers nearly soured relations between the two Soweto giants. Tau stands out as having the distinct honour of captaining both Soweto giants.

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