CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy.molobi@city­ Should Chiefs be able to poach Pi­rates’ play­ers and vice versa? SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­words FREE TRADE and tell us what you think. SMSes cost R1.50 each. Al­ter­na­tively, talk to us on Twit­ter (@Ci­ty_P

It was pre­vi­ously a crime to cross the floor from one Soweto team to another – nowa­days, how­ever, the ri­valry be­tween Or­lando Pi­rates and Kaizer Chiefs only ex­ists on the field for 90 min­utes.

Even the sup­port­ers travel to­gether to Soweto der­bies and sit side by side – hence the say­ing once a Pi­rate, al­ways a Chief.

It started with Kaizer Chiefs founder Kaizer Mo­taung him­self, who es­tab­lished Chiefs on his re­turn from the US in 1970.

He had played for Pi­rates be­fore mov­ing to the At­lanta Chiefs.

Now there seems to be a free-trade agree­ment be­tween the teams – as their ri­valry is no longer as fierce as it used to be.

Player move­ments be­tween these ri­val clubs are no longer con­tentious.

Bongani Ndu­l­ula is the latest name in the mix – al­beit via AmaZulu where he spent the past two sea­sons.

The 25-year-old, who was un­veiled as a Chiefs player last week, joins a grow­ing list of play­ers who have fea­tured in both Soweto teams.

Last year, Lehlo­honolo Ma­joro made a di­rect move from Chiefs to Pi­rates, be­com­ing only the third player to do so in the PSL era, af­ter Jimmy Tau and the late Sizwe Mo­taung.

Back in the day, the thought of los­ing play­ers to a ri­val team was just not ac­cept­able to sup­port­ers.

Nowa­days, some play­ers make just a short trip across town to their new team while oth­ers pre­fer to take a long and wind­ing route, via other clubs, be­fore reach­ing their ac­tual des­ti­na­tion.

It is now ac­cept­able for a player to move from Pi­rates di­rectly to Chiefs and vice versa and there is no re­sul­tant fric­tion or con­cern from sup­port­ers.

Is it be­cause sup­port­ers have learnt to em­brace each other or are they be­com­ing more tol­er­ant? They no longer at­tack these play­ers and seem to have ac­cepted the fact that they have moved on.

There are nu­mer­ous rea­sons for a player to seek a trans­fer – bet­ter wages, more play­ing time, the de­sire to win tro­phies or dress­ing-room al­ter­ca­tions.

Tau holds the dis­tinct achieve­ment of hav­ing cap­tained the two sides.

He was equally at home at the two clubs and both sets of sup­port­ers em­braced him.

He is still revered by sup­port­ers of both clubs.

In­ter­est­ingly, most of play­ers who have crossed the floor made their names at Chiefs and are com­monly called for­mer Amakhosi play­ers, rather than Pi­rates play­ers.

The likes of Collins Mbe­suma, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Jabu Pule, Tha­bang Lebese and Pollen Nd­lanya have built their ca­reers at Chiefs.

Other play­ers who have fea­tured for both sides in­clude Mar­cus Mpha­fudi, Phumlani Mkhize, Steve Mn­guni and Them­binkosi Biyela.

Jabu Pule (Chiefs 199904; Pi­rates 2006- 07) via SV Mat­ters­burg in Aus­tria and Su­perS­port United

Bongani Ndu­l­ula (Pi­rates 2010-13; Chiefs 2015) via AmaZulu

Marc Batch­e­lor


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