'You need big guys in a Soweto Derby'


Orlando Pirates legend Gavin Lane says it will always be difficult for people who never played in the Soweto Derby to fully understand the meaning of it.

There was nothing missing in the recent derbies between Kaizer Chiefs and their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates.

The scuffles amongst players, bad tackles and red cards reminded one of the old encounters between the two sides, something that almost brought young Orlando Pirates head coach Rhulani Mokwena to tears.

READ: Rhulani recap: How he stole the show

But like many Soweto Derby legends, Gavin Lane, who in his days was notorious for intimidating and playing mind games with the opposition players, says this reminded him of his playing days.

"Ja, those derbies those days were proper my friend you know what I mean," Lane tells KickOff.com.

"Everyone wanted to kick each other, and tackle each other and smack each other and everything else you know because it meant so much to the supporters.

"It's all about soccer I mean, I don't think we've seen any of that in recent times in South African soccer whereby the guys are pushing each other and... in our days it happened quite often you know what I mean. Ja, it's part of the game and obviously tempers got heated and heated and things like that.

"It's just one of those things that happens in the game where one player just get carried away and then they are all frustrated by a few things. I think one or two incidents and the wrong players gets yellow cards or sent off things like that because, everyone's just pushing everyone and no one can see anything and sometimes it's the last man that someone sees you know what I mean.

"But ja it's all part of the game, how do you make a big thing about it?

"Everyone wants to win every match and that shows their expectations for the game. I wouldn't like to see someone get punched or things like that but you know man they were just women, they were just throwing handbags at each other. Like one guy was pushing this one, this one pushing this... and this shows you that the players they were motivated and they want to win.

"You know it's a big game those derbies and people that have never played in the derby before they don't really understand how much pressure it's on the players. It's huge I mean, the whole week, the build- up, the press...the big thing is when you play in those derbies and when you go out you get butterflies, you get goosebumps...those things can affect the match.

"I still remember from Chiefs, the left-back Gardner Seale, he came in with a tackle one time and I said to him 'Hey Gardner that's over the ball' and he was always over the ball. And the next time I saw him coming with his feet and I just jumped out left, and I left my elbow up and I connected with him enough... so ja it's one of those things in the game.

"It's not like you go prepared and say 'ja I'm gonna hit this guy'. This thing is in the heat of the moment. People who have never played in those derbies or never played soccer, sometimes they don't understand there's a lot of pressure on the person playing.

"I was laughing about it when I saw the pushing and shoving, I think in our old days there would be one or two punches you know what I mean [laughs]. It's a big thing to try and intimidate the opposition, especially the player that you are going to be marking or playing against.

"I mean, I always used to mark Pollen Ndlanya, obviously I would talk in his ear and say how I will 'bliksem' him [laughs], you know all type of things like that. Ja hey you need big guys in derby matches and also once you are playing for Pirates and Chiefs you are under scrutiny, the fans are looking at you all the time... ja it's not for the faint-hearted."