Chance to sam­ple Basque derby

The Citizen (KZN) - - Latest News - Tshepo Nt­soe­len­goe

It’s a football derby like no other, fierce on the pitch, but pretty peace­ful off the pitch as both fans from the clubs are al­ways to­gether – this is LaLiga’s Basque Derby be­tween Real So­ciedad and Atletico Bil­bao.

So­ciedad and Bil­bao are two of the four top-tier sides in the north of Spain, also called the Basque Coun­try.

Lead­ing up to the derby, the at­mos­phere is on an­other level and with a kick­off of 2pm in Spain on a Sun­day, the pubs and bars in San Se­bastián are filled up early by the sup­port­ers as they get them­selves ready for the match.

A cou­ple of beers and lo­cal food is tra­di­tion for both sets of fans to start their day and from the young to the old, the Basque derby is not one to be missed.

“We live for football, we love the game and it’s the way of life for us. Span­ish peo­ple love football, that’s some­thing you can’t take away from us,´ said So­ciedad fan Santi Lopez.

“When it’s the Basque ev­ery­thing just has to stop on the day, es­pe­cially So­ciedad and Atletico. Things are go­ing to be very tough on the pitch, but we are one be­fore football. The 90 min­utes sep­a­rates us for that time only, but af­ter that we all laugh and speak about it to­gether. That is why we even sit to­gether in the sta­dium, it might be sur­pris­ing for other peo­ple, but for us it’s nor­mal. I grew up with my fa­ther sup­port­ing Atletico, but my mother and un­cle are huge fans of So­ciedad. But it’s nor­mal, it’s like that in most fam­i­lies here.”

Look­ing at the build-up of the match and how it’s per­ceived, it’s some­thing sim­i­lar to what hap­pens in the Soweto derby be­tween Kaizer Chiefs and Or­lando Pirates. The day of the game is not en­tirely about what hap­pens af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle, but in­stead, a pop­u­lar event where some peo­ple go to the sta­dium just to sam­ple the at­mos­phere.

An Atletico fan who wanted to re­main anonymous spoke fondly about the derby and the his­tory of the two clubs.

There was noth­ing miss­ing in terms of ac­tion which saw sup­port­ers on their feet now and then as So­ciedad went on to win the tie 2-1 on their home ground,

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