Orlando Pirates v Golden Arrows, Sunday 22nd December 2013, 3.30pm

0 - opening shot

I tend to get up early these days whether I’m at work or not and one of the benefits is seeing what’s happening on the terrace outside of our house. It‘s usually multi-coloured birds scrapping over seed but on this occasion it was the dassie making his rounds.

A dassie is a rock rabbit. As you might expect that’s a rabbit that lives in the rocks. Its closest relative in the animal world isn‘t the bog-standard rabbit though. No, apparently its closest animal relative is the elephant. Bizarre, but true. Or it‘s probably true, I didn’t check myself. And no more bizarre than elephants themselves I suppose. Dassies don’t have tusks but they do have vampire-like teeth, which is pretty much all I know about them apart from their favourite food is the roses on the terrace.


“Oi, leave that alone.”

Oh, and when they’ve eaten their fill, they like to sleep it off on the rocks above the back garden. Still, I dare say an elephant would have made more of a mess.

He's looking rather pleased with life.

He’s looking rather pleased with life.

With the dassie excitement over for the day, we set off for the match. Orlando Pirates were taking on Golden Arrows at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

It’s a football ground with a bit of a history as it was the intended destination for the marchers in what ended up as the Soweto Uprising in 1976. It was also the venue for Walter Sisulu’s funeral in 1993 and somewhat more recently, but less impressively, a Black Eyed Peas concert in 2010.

It should have been an easy enough place to find but I’d mistakenly put the address in the sat nav of the nearby Dobsonville Stadium instead, home of the Maroko Swallows. Now that is a poor area. We’ll not be going to any games after dark at that ground.

With the correct address identified we were soon at the Orlando Stadium, although not before we had spotted a woman crossing the road with an oil drum on her head. She didn’t quite have the classic ‘no-handed’ technique mastered, although I suppose with something that size it wasn’t a bad effort nevertheless.

It's like Ladies Day at Ascot.

It’s like Ladies Day at Ascot.

The Pirates were in the lower half of the table due to them being a few games behind the rest of the clubs as a consequence of their cup commitments, whilst Golden Arrows were at the foot of the league as a consequence of them being fairly crap.

With the difference in class between the teams it didn’t take the hosts long to open the scoring and Happy Jele poked a loose ball home after the Arrows keeper failed to hang on to the initial shot.



Somewhat surprisingly the visitors were level within a minute or so with one of their defenders heading an equaliser after a corner. The goal highlighted the presence of two away fans who had been fairly quiet up to that point. Mind you, there’s not much to shout about as an Arrows fan these days.

We had a drinks break midway through the first half. That seems a sensible and frequent occurrence over here. Unfortunately Golden Arrows lost a little concentration and Orlando broke quickly when play resumed. A cross into the box was sidefooted home from close range by Matthews Manyisa, a midfielder who if I had to describe him in a word, then that word would be ‘shortarse’.

View from the corner.

View from the corner.

We switched seats for the second half and tried the view from the upper tier on the other side of the ground. The play was fairly open with both keepers making some decent saves and coping well with the ropey goalmouths.

Corner to Golden Arrows.

Corner to Golden Arrows.

The crowd was announced as three thousand, which I thought was a little optimistic. Despite the poor attendance there was a singing section in each of the four sides of the ground and millinery sections in at least a couple of them.

Fancy hats are popular amongst the supporters here, although none of them quite rivalled the oil drum lady from earlier in the day.

Better than a baseball cap or a beanie.

Better than a baseball cap or a beanie.

Orlando were probably the better side in the second half but didn’t put the game to bed until the last minute when little Matty Manyisa ended any uncertainty with his second goal of the afternoon. The win enabled Orlando to continue their climb up the table and kept Golden Arrows in pole position for the drop to the First Division.

We headed back off home to see how many of the roses we had left.

3 Responses to “Orlando Pirates v Golden Arrows, Sunday 22nd December 2013, 3.30pm”

  1. playfortoday Says:

    That’s more like, fancy hats and elephant rabbits…although sadly no food

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