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banner Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Rivalry tinged with tragedy
ellis park smashed gates
The gates at Ellis Park lie smashed in the sad aftermath to Wednesday's latest football tragedy
The relationship between the two big Soweto teams has been soured by tragedy over the last 30 years, even before Wednesday's disaster at Ellis Park, as BBC Sport Online's MARK GLEESON reports.

The rivalry between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is among the fiercest on the African continent but has its origins in a split rather than a tradition of geographical, racial or religious division.

Chiefs were founded just over 30 years ago as a breakaway from Pirates, one of the oldest clubs in South Africa and for decades the dominant club in the segregated black league.

It was Pirates' most famous player, Kaizer Motaung, who led the breakaway, forming his own team and taking several of his team-mates and Pirates officials with him in 1970.

At first, Chiefs started out as 'Kaizer XI', forming just an invitation team which Motaung, who had been playing in the United States for the Atlanta Chiefs, set up to play friendly matches around the country in the off-season.

The matches were called 'stake games', where organisers put up prize money for the winner.

Pirates officials objected to the growing popularty of this 'select' team but Motaung persisted and eventually broke away with several officials and team-mates.

Roots in Soweto

His 'Kaizer XI' evolved into Kaizer Chiefs, taking the name of his previous club in Atlanta and today still using the native American head-dress emblem and black and gold colours of the American team.

lucas radebe in chiefs kit
Radebe witnessed another fatal stampede while playing for Chiefs ten years ago
Both Chiefs and Pirates have their roots in Soweto, the sprawling black township on the edge of Johannesburg where much of the tradition of South African soccer stems from.

They come from a background of apartheid, where there was little opportunity for black footballers in a colour-conscious South Africa and both have long been a refuge for the hopes and dreams of millions.

Chiefs used to have their headquarters at Phefeni while the heart of Pirates comes from the Orlando district of Soweto.

Both clubs have long since moved away and now play their home matches at stadiums in nearby Johannesburg.

Chiefs are based at the Johannesburg Athletics stadium, but moved Wednesday's night's tragic game to nearby Ellis Park because it had a larger capacity.

The 'people's team'

Pirates' home ground is Soccer City, the national stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg which seats some 75,000.

Pirates were formed in 1939 and are among the oldest surviving clubs in South Africa. They have always been regarded as 'the people's team', popularly supported by the poor and working classes

The club was formed to keep youngsters from Orlando "out of trouble", according to officials, and give them some organised activity. Pirates also offered boxing as an alternate sport in the early days.

soccer city
Pirates fans set part of Soccer City alight in 1994
The club built itself up into a popular power with supporters not only in Soweto but nationwide. However, they almost fell apart 30 years later when the revolt led to the birth of Chiefs.

Chiefs have always tried to present themselves as a side of glamour and aspiration, Motaung representing the achievements that were possible years ago for black youth in South Africa even if their prospects were shackled by the chains of apartheid.

Motaung was chosen as the best newcomer in the North American Soccer League in 1967 and was one of the first black South Africans to play outside the country.

Dogged by tragedy

Chiefs and Pirates have been playing against each other since 1970 but had been dogged by tragedy before the events of Wednesday night.

Just over 10 years ago, 42 people died in a stampede at a pre-season exhibition match in the provincial mining town of Orkney between the two sides in January, 1991.

The deaths, including that of two children, occurred as fans attempted to flee a knife-wielding Pirates fan, who attacked several Chiefs supporters after his team had conceded a goal.

The dead were crushed in a scramble for safety in the packed 30,000 stadium. It was then the biggest sporting tragedy in South Africa.

Just two months later, several Chiefs players narrowly escaped serious injury when retaining walls collapsed under the weight of fans leaning over the entrance of the tunnel at a Port Elizabeth stadium.

Captain killed

The walls and the spectators fell on top of four Chiefs players, who had been entering the field for a friendly match at the Boet Erasmus stadium in the coastal city. They were pinned to the ground but did not suffer serious injury.

doctor khumalo
Doctor Khumalo, who played on Wednesday, has been involved in derby tragedy before
Among them was Doctor Khumalo, the former South African international who was part of Chiefs squad for Wednesday's game at Ellis Park.

Other tragedies have included the killing of Chiefs manager Ewert Nene in 1976 as he attempted to buy a player for Chiefs.

Nene had previously been an officials at Pirates but was later expelled.

Chiefs' captain Ariel Khongoane was killed during the Soweto uprising in June, 1976. Police reports at the time said he was shot while looting a shopping complex in the township.

In 1994, Pirates fans set a section of the Soccer City stadium alight after their team were beaten in a league match by Chiefs. There were no injuries in that incident.

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