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Soweto derby: NAFSA to stage ‘peaceful protest’ over fan attendance

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The National Football Supporters’ Association (NAFSA) has revealed its demonstration plans that will target next month’s Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in an attempt to force government to lift the current ban on stadium attendance.

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The association stated it will hold protests from 11:00 on the morning of the blockbuster DStv Premiership clash on Saturday, 5 March as it seeks to force the relevant authorities to allow supporters to return to stadiums. 

Since the Premier Soccer League (PSL) resumed in August 2020 after it was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, supporters have not been able to watch matches live at stadiums around Mzansi.

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The only exceptions to that rule have been when 2 000 vaccinated fans attended Bafana Bafana’s 2022 Soccer World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Zimbabwe in October and November last year, as well as last October’s MTN8 final between Cape Town City FC and Mamelodi Sundowns, and last month’s DStv Compact Cup.

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“The National Football Supporters’ Association (NAFSA) extends warm greetings to all football loyalists,” a statement on the organisation’s Twitter page read.

“It has been 19 months since supporters were last seen at the stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and as an organisation, we have tried all measures within our capacity to engage SAFA, the Ministry of Sports, and PSL regarding a return to the stadium. All these efforts have fallen on deaf ears.

“It is through this that we have decided to embark on a peaceful protest to the stadiums and the main target is the upcoming Soweto derby to voice our nationwide cry. This is an ongoing campaign and is a follow up to the joint-picketing recently to the offices of the Minister of Sports, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, in Pretoria.

“NAFSA will be embarking on a protest outside the Orlando Stadium on March 5, 2022.

“The peaceful proceedings of the protest will kick-off at Martha Louw Street and end at Mooki Street, by the historic Orlando Stadium. This protest is open to anyone who deems themselves as a football loyalist and is not just limited to the supporters of the two teams that will be playing on the day.

“We urge supporters to be peaceful as no violence will be tolerated. NAFSA will not be held liable for individuals who misbehave,” the statement concluded.

Amakhosi won the Soweto derby earlier in the season

Kaizer Chiefs won season’s first league Soweto derby 2-1 at their FNB Stadium in late November 2021.

Next month’s much-anticipated clash – which is only 17 days away at the time of publishing – will kick off at 15:30.

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