In an occurrence that hasn’t been heard of before, Chippa United will play their seventh consecutive game away from home on Saturday.
This extraordinary series of fixtures will eventually rise to 10 matches on the road by the end of January.
According to the club, the reasons for what will now go down as the longest run of away games ever in domestic top-flight football are precautionary measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality – where Chippa United are based – had been declared a Covid-19 hostspot at the beginning of December, the club responded by making an application to play all their upcoming games away from home to help curb the spread.
The League approved and Chippa have now played on the road since December 6 when they travelled 1 368km to Polokwane to meet Baroka in a game the visitors lost 2-1.
Since then they have been on a countrywide tour, next playing in Johannesburg against Orlando Pirates on December 16 in a game they lost 1-0.
From there they flew to Durban for a date with AmaZulu at Kings Park on December 20 and again they lost, this time 3-1.
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Into 2021 they took another trip, this time to Tshwane to play SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on January 6 in Dan Malesela’s first match in charge, managing a 2-2 draw.
Three days later they were back in KwaZulu Natal to square off with Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on January 9 in another match that ended in a 1-0 defeat.
After that they were at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga for a contest with TS Galaxy on January 16, winning 1-0 – which was sweet for Dan Malesela as he got one over his former employers.
Then this past Wednesday – without going back to their base – they were at Dobsonville Stadium to play Swallows FC and managed to secure a point following a 1-1 draw.
Chippa didn’t even travel back home this week after going in the opposite direction and taking the N1 north to Thohoyandou, where Black Leopards will be waiting on Saturday (15h30).
In the seven games they have played on the road, they have picked up five points from the 21 that have been available.
After Leopards they must still go to Bloemfontein Celtic next Wednesday and then return to Gauteng on January 31 to meet Mamelodi Sundowns, which will complete 10 consecutive games away from home.