African nations play a high standard of football these days, largely as a result of leading players from the continent plying their professional trade for European clubs. International football in Africa is often exciting a free-flowing with some exceptionally skilful players on show. That said, there are plenty of clubs in the continent that are able to build up the quality of their squads from home grown talent and the quality of African domestic football is getting better and better. Into this mix of improving club fixtures, there is another ingredient that must be added.
Just like soccer that is contested in Europe and North America, African club football has its fair share of rivalries among the top teams. Some of the most exciting derbies between local club teams anywhere in the world are played out in Africa nowadays. Often as thrilling and as much fun as playing at an online casino, these African football derbies are played with passion and – sometimes, at least – with a little bit of niggle to spice up the play. What are the most exciting rivalries in African club soccer today?
The Soweto Derby in South Africa
Played out by the Orlando Pirates and the Kaizer Chiefs, this is one of the biggest club derbies in the whole of southern Africa, let alone the South African Republic. Fans of the clashes between the two sides are well catered for because the clubs will usually play each other at least four times in a typical season depending on the way their fixtures fall. Orlando Pirates is the biggest club in the country with tens of millions of supporters. However, their Soweto rivals have very passionate, if fewer, fans. The rivalry has built ever since a former Pirates player formed the Chiefs in the 1970s.
Al Ahly Versus Zamalek in Egypt
Like many of the best sporting rivalries around the world, the two leading Cairo clubs play each other in a way that represents so much more than mere footballing identities. Al Ahly is often seen as the working class team, the one which represents the values of many ordinary Egyptians who had been at the forefront over overthrowing colonialism. On the other hand, Zamalek is the side often favoured by middle class supporters and people who have a stake in traditional society. Celebrations following a victory in the Cairo derby can go on all night and they frequently do!
Simba S.C. Versus Young Africans S.C. in Tanzania
This football rivalry is one of the most legendary of any sporting contests in East Africa. The games between the two rival clubs take place at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, the national 60,000-seater arena where supporters face one another in a friendly fashion dressed in either red or yellow depending on which end they will sit. Sometimes billed as the Kariakoo Derby, matches between Simba S.C. and Young Africans S.C. have a longer history than many derby games in the continent. Young Africans have won more than Simba over time but the latter is catching up.
Gor Mahia Versus AFC Leopards in Kenya
The longest established of any footballing derbies in Kenya, the games between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are looked forward to by nearly every sports fan in the country regardless of whether or not they reside in the capital, Nairobi, where the matches are played. The whole city turns into a place which has a festival-like atmosphere when the two teams meet. Many locals will tell you that the rivalry has a political dimension as well as a sporting one. However, for most neutrals, this club derby is simply fascinating as a footballing spectacle largely due to the high standard of play that you can expect to see on offer. Both teams are multiple title winners with plenty at stake when they meet one another.
Wydad Casablanca Versus Raja Casablanca in Morocco
This is one of the most exciting club side derbies you could ever expect to experience. Not only do the two leading teams in the Moroccan capital city play each other with a great deal of passion but they have two very differing styles to observe. Raja Casablanca is known for its ability to pass the ball and for great technical performance while Wydad Casablanca has built up a well-deserved reputation for attacking play which often opens up defences. Fans make a huge amount of noise during the game and their antics can be just as entertaining as the soccer in some cases!