Mamelodi Sundowns v Amatuks, Sunday 30th March 2014, 3.30pm

1 - opening shot

Day two of the Pretoria weekend meant it was the Premier League game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Amatuks. We had a five and a half hour gap between being booted out of our hotel room and the mid-afternoon kick-off so we had a walk along to the Union Building to idle away some of the morning.

Even if you aren’t too familiar with Pretoria landmarks, you still might know the Union Building as it’s the place where Nelson Mandela lay in state last year. There’s not much more going for it though as you can’t go inside. We slogged up the hill, ran the gauntlet of tat sellers at the top and then made our way back down through the gardens. It killed an hour or so but I wouldn’t recommend it. Even the busload of Chinese tourists didn’t seem inclined to hang around.

It's nothing special.

It’s nothing special.

Fortunately we noticed the nearby Sheraton Hotel and were able to while away the remaining time reading their newspapers before going for the buffet lunch. It’s a lot more enjoyable than pressing your nose up against the glass doors of the Union Building.

The walk in to the stadium was a lot quieter than it had been the previous day and led me to believe that the Sundowns wouldn’t be attracting much of a crowd. The merchandising was more low–key too with most of the sellers setting out their wares on the ground rather than stalls.

It was better tat than at the Union Building.

It was better than the tat at the Union Building.

We made our way around to the ticket office where the bloke behind the counter kept us and the people behind us waiting as he criticised the appointment of David Moyes at Man United. I find it hard to have any sympathy for Man United fans. They’ve had it good for a long time and are long overdue a relatively fallow spell. Two forty rand tickets and a lecture later we headed for the East Stand, pausing to let the one of the branches of the Mamelodi Supporters Club march past.

They were happy to go the long way around.

They were happy to go the long way around.

The pitch looked in reasonable condition considering that there had been a game of rugby played on it just the day before and the ground staff had made a decent effort at removing or disguising the various sponsor logos that had been painted onto the grass.

Mamelodi, who were dressed up as Brazil, started the better of the two teams but looked vulnerable to being caught on the counter-attack.

View from the East Stand.

View from the East Stand.

I’d estimate the crowd at about a couple of thousand, most of them being Sundowns supporters in the West Stand. There were a hundred or so of the kids who had marched past us before the game behind the goal to our right and maybe a dozen Amatuks fans at the front of the East. The away fans were supplemented by a few Kaizer Chiefs fans who had turned up to cheer on the opposition to their rivals.

Hat Of The Day.

Hat Of The Day.

As the first half drew to a close both teams had their chances. It was the Sundowns that broke the deadlock though, a minute before half-time when Laffor headed home unchallenged from five yards out.

Amatuk equalised just after the hour sparking wild celebrations from the alliance of their own and the Kaizer Chiefs fans.

Amtuks fans celebrate Nyondo’s goal.

Amtuks fans celebrate Nyondo’s goal.

The visiting supporters joy was short-lived as within a couple of minutes Mamelodi had regained the lead with the third headed goal of the game, this time a glancing effort from Mokoena.

That was it as far as the scoring went, although we were treated to a few wild tackles as the home side hung on for the victory.

This one caused a bit of an uproar.

This one caused a bit of an uproar.

As we left the ground alongside the Chiefs fans, we had to run the gauntlet for the second time that day, this time it was the Sundown’s under tens fan club making their presence felt and delighting in their victory. Whilst I’d expect the Chiefs to finish on top come the end of the season it was good to see the kids making the most of the win.



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