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My 12-hour bus journey with Masandawana fans to the MTN8 Final in Durban

The 12-hour bus ride from Polokwane to Moses Mabhida Stadium for the MTN8 Final with Mamelodi Sundowns supporters was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had as a football journalist.

As a football fanatic myself, I have travelled to many places for a football match, but this one ranks top of the list.

Initially, when the invite from the Sundowns supporters Limpopo provincial chairperson Ntshumeni Thando came, I was sceptical but went ahead anyway.


The bus carrying 75 supporters, the majority of whom are Sundowns [Men and Women], and a few from other teams, including one of the so-called Kaizer Chiefs super Fan ‘Mukwevho’, left Polokwane at exactly 19:38 on Friday. It only took two minutes before Masandawana fans began with their slogans as it hit the N1 South before we picked more fans in Mokopane.

It didn’t take time before some Sundowns fans started teasing Mukwevho about his team’s lack of success in recent times and his ‘expired disc’ on the famous number plate. But it was generally all love as the Mamelodi Sundowns supporters were beaming with confidence ahead of the MTN8 Final clash against rivals Orlando Pirates. Of course, no one knew I was a journalist except for the leader of the Sundowns fans as well as the Kaizer Chiefs supporters chairperson in Limpopo Nathi wa Lekhosi and two other people.

12-hour Bus journey with Mamelodi Sundowns supporters to the MTN8 Final
Chiefs fan Mukwevho was an unpopular figure amongst Sundowns supporters

I also realised during this journey that passionate football supporters who travel to matches part ways with a lot of money. For this trip alone, each of these supporters spent a minimum of R2500 for all the expenses, which under these difficult economic times, is a lot.

Anyway, we picked up the last fans in Pretoria around 00:11 before heading into the N3 to KwaZulu Natal. At this point, the singing had slowed down as it was bedtime for many, but for those who were indulging in the ‘holy waters’, it was business as usual.


For me, the highlight of this trip was at a place called Montrose, 84km from Durban, at around 04:00 am. This is where we met hundreds of other fans who were also making their way to Moses Mabhida Stadium. What was supposed to be the last stop for only a few minutes turned out to be a contest of slogans and passion, 14 hours before the match. It lasted for over an hour and gave some of us goosebumps.

We then proceeded with our journey and finally touched down in eThekwini at around 08:30am on Saturday and headed straight to the beach, of course. By 15:00, everyone was on the bus heading to the sold-out MTN8 final at the 2010 World Cup venue. Pity we had to go separate ways as I went to the media centre while the fans went to the stands.


The agreement was that I would make a call after the match for the bus ride back to the hotel after attending the post-match proceedings. Unfortunately, the phones rang unanswered, but I understood why, so I had to make other plans. The plan was to explore the City later on, but for obvious reasons by the time I went to the hotel, everyone was not opening the door or answering their phones.

So again, I understood what they might have been going through, except for the Chiefs branch chairperson, who looked to be in a better mood after the match. Anyway, I ended up sleeping despite a few calls from fellow journalists who wanted to catch up.

12-hour Bus journey with Mamelodi Sundowns supporters to the MTN8 Final
Sundowns fans at one of the filling stations after the MTN8 Final loss to Pirates 

Sunday morning it was time to head back to Polokwane and I had anticipated a bunch of grumpy supporters. But they were all trying to show a brave face and insist they accept the results. Before we got onto the N3, we went to the Pavilion Shopping Centre to get food for the road. Interestingly, some of the fans we travelled with started playing a penalty shootout match at the parking lot. The less said about the penalties the better. More of a duplicate of what we witnessed at Moses Mabhida the previous night.

12-hour Bus journey with Mamelodi Sundowns supporters to the MTN8 Final
Sundowns supporters attempting to kick better penalties 

I have to say I admire the Sundowns fans though. Their singing on the way back to Polokwane on the bus and at a few stops was louder than when we were still going to Durban, despite the loss. What makes it more special is that there is no ‘Super Fan’. They do it together and in uniform.

But I must mention, Chiefs ‘super Fan’ Mukwevho was nearly thrown out off the bus after trying to mock the sad Sundowns faithful. He was called to order several times and had to be reminded about his team’s eight-year drought before quickly sitting down.

The ride back was as smooth as the ride to Durban, and we finally touched down in Polokwane just before 01:00am. I must thank Limpopo Mamelodi Sundowns Provincial Chairperson Ntshumeni for the invite, and I look forward to many more trips with football supporters.

RELATED STORY: Pirates retain MTN8 title after defeating Sundowns on penalties

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