Soweto Derby more of a spectacle in the old days – Dinha

Edelbert Dinha (Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images)

Edelbert Dinha (Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images)

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Edelbert Dinha believes the atmosphere around the Soweto derby isn’t what it used to be – when he was still wearing the black-and-white strip of the Sea Robbers.

Dinha says his generation understood that the derby was not about the player but rather about the fans and the legacy of the club. With the derby these days still drawing huge crowds, but failing to translate that into a glut of goals, Dinha points at the fear of losing and the addiction to tactics in the modern game.

“To be honest I didn’t know it was the derby week, that tells you the difference from then and now. In our days when the month started you knew there was a derby, it showed everywhere.
“When you got out of your car every day leading up to the derby you could tell something big was coming up that week,” explained Dinha ahead of the latest meeting of the Buccaneers and Amakhosi on Saturday.

“You didn’t need motivation, it was huge, we were told that you are not playing for yourself, that you had to think of the fans, and that you were playing for the badge. You needed to think about the people who would even commit suicide because your team lost. That is why we played fast, end-to-end football.

“Today it is more tactical. Dr Khoza would come and remind us that this was the People’s Team, and make the fans happy.”

The Zimbabwean international is the co-founder of Shumba Football Development with Siyabulela Lailane. They play in the Gauteng Development League alongside youth teams from Absa Premiership sides. They also have another team of a different age group playing in the SAB League. Shumba is aimed at giving disadvantaged kids a chance to participate in football and helps them focus on furthering their education.

Dinha doesn’t have any coaching certificate, however he helps to coach the team and spends his time guiding the youngsters and helping shape their lives off the field, encouraging them to study and getting some players a place in development structures of Premiership clubs.

“I am still very much involved in football. It is all about helping the boys achieve their dreams, we want to give back what we achieved in our playing days. The boys need to know that not all of them will make it, but we tell them to focus on school as well so they can be engineers or have other careers if football doesn’t work out.”

Dinha plays football weekly with some former players in Soweto such as Cyril Nzama. The 38-year-old, however, prefers to spend most of his spare time away from football at home with his family.

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