The Kariakoo Derby is, without a doubt, a game of passion and pride. It has all the makings of a derby – intense rivalry, passion, competitive edge and unrivalled fan involvement.
At the start of the week leading to the much-anticipated showdown pitting Tanzania’s giants Simba SC and Young Africans, Mahlatse ‘Skudu’ Makudubela had to pack his bags and take that 35km drive to Avic Centre.
The Avic Centre – located on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam – far away from the hustle and bustle of East Africa’s largest city, is Yanga’s camp facility. That drive to Avic takes you away from all the things and places that could distract your focus as an athlete. All 29 players who turn out for the Jangwani giants go into camp mode for a good five days.
“There’s not much players can do here, and they only focus on the upcoming game. The facility has everything they need as an athlete,” explains Walter Harson, Yanga’s team manager.
The club’s South African winger, Makudubela, is set to have his first taste of East Africa’s biggest derby on Sunday at the Benjamin Mkapa [4PM SA Time]. But just witnessing the build-up has shown him how big a contest it is.
SKUDU MAKUDUBELA DUBS THE KARIAKOO DERBY A GAME OF PASSION AND PRIDE
“You can feel the tension starting from supporters, everyone internally,” he told FARPost after the final training session at the Avic Centre. “It’s a big derby. It’s called the Kariakoo Derby. Arguably one of the biggest in Africa. I’m just looking forward to it.”
“The preparations have been going so well. You know, it’s crazy. We camp for about five days ahead of the derby. The build-up and everything says it all. We’re looking forward to the game.”
As expected from any derby, the tensions are almost tangible. The city comes to a standstill when these two giants clash. Every conversation, at every corner of Dar, is just about the match.
“The tensions are growing from both teams. It’s not just bragging rights. If one team wins, it’ll go on until we meet again. So there’s a lot at stake. We’re all looking forward to the game –management and players are psyched up.”
The derby comes just weeks after the 33-year-old recovered from an injury that saw him miss the Community Shield three months ago.
“It was difficult because it was a career-threatening injury. But thank God I managed to recover, I’ve started playing, and I’m getting my confidence back. I’m just looking to build up good performances in the league and in CAF, which is coming later this month,” he says.
ABOUT THE KARIAKOO DERBY
The Kariakoo Derby is the biggest derby in Tanzania and is between the two biggest clubs in the country, Yanga and Simba. The match is always a close and exciting affair and is always a sell-out.
The first Dar es Salaam Derby was played in 1936. After 136 meetings, Yanga have won 52, while Simba have 41. On 43 occasions, the match has ended in a draw.
It is a must-watch for any football fan and is always a highlight of the Tanzanian Premier League season. Timu ya Wananchi [Yanga] have the likes of Stephane Aziz Ki, Dickson Job and Clement Mzize.
On the other hand, Wekundu wa Msimbazi [Simba] boast of talents like Clatous Chota Chama and Loius Miquissone.
ABOUT YOUNG AFRICANS
Young Africans is a Tanzanian football club based in Dar es Salaam. The club was founded in 1935 and is one of the most successful clubs in Tanzanian history. Young Africans have won the Tanzanian Premier League a record 29 times.
ABOUT SIMBA SC
Simba SC is a Tanzanian football club based in Dar es Salaam. The club was founded in 1936 and is one of the most successful clubs in Tanzanian history. Simba SC has won the Tanzanian Premier League 22 times.