Tanzania’s Kariakoo Derby between Yanga and Simba certainly ranks within the top five on the African continent looking at the rivalry and history between the two clubs.
Although the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates remain arguably the biggest fixture in African football, there are a few key things that are worth noting from the East Africa battle.
FANS ARRIVE ON TIME
It was pleasing to see both Yanga and Simba fans arriving at the stadium in numbers hours before the match began. By the time the match started at 17:00 (local time) almost everyone at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium was sitted, singing and eagerly waiting for the match.
As someone who has been to the South African Soweto Derby between Chiefs and Pirates, and has experienced a few of them being delayed because some fans are still outside the stadium.
Twenty (20) minutes before the match began, there was literally no one outside the stadium. It is highly commendable to see the Tanzanian fans disciplined and respecting time.
The stadium is literally divided when the two teams meet. You will never see Yanga fans sharing a stand and sitting next to their rivals, Simba, something that is common on the South African derby where Chiefs and Pirates fans can be sitting next to each other.
In Tanzania, the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium is divided between Green and Red, not mixed.
There are three main entrances at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, and during the derby it is a well-known fact that fans practice without failure that, one entrance is for Yanga, the other entrance is for Simba and the other entrance is for dignitaries.
It is also worth noting that there was never an incident of fighting amongst the fans during and after the match.
Where the Kariakoo Derby can improve
The media post-match set up is probably the worst one has seen, especially for a match of such magnitude. There are no sitting arrangements, you have to negotiate with people inside the ‘media centre’ to keep quite while you conduct post match interviews and it is difficult to even hear the coaches because there is no order.
The Tanzanian Premier League (TPL) can certainly do a lot better when it comes to the media set up.
CURTAIN RAISER MATCHES
Before every Tanzanian Derby, there are three or four matches (Development, Legends and Media teams) that takes place at the stadium as part of the curtain-raiser.
At this day and age, having the best possible playing surface for a big derby should be a priority. Years back, there used to be curtain-raiser games for the Soweto Derby and other matches, but not anymore.
Besides the damage to the pitch, it also serves no purpose having these matches on the same day of the big derby and at the same venue and assumably, it should be a logistical nightmare for the match organizers to take care of four matches in one day, while the centre of attraction should be the derby itself.
RELATED STORY: Kariakoo Derby: Where it all started
By Ofhani Munyai