Games between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns have grown in stature over the last two decennia. They are always hard fought battles on the pitch. Brian ‘Spiderman’ Baloyi knows all about it and, more importantly, he knows these clashes from both sides, having kept goal for the Amakhosi and the Brazilians.
Chiefs will host Sundowns in a crucial match at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 1 April 2017 (kick-off is at 20:15).
The sides, the one dressed in Gold and Black, the other in Yellow and Green, have also faced each other several times in cup games, including numerous finals.
An example is the epic clash between the Glamour Boys and the Brazilians in the BP Top Eight final at the FNB Stadium in 1994. Chiefs won 3-2.
Baloyi was minding the posts in that game, after having made his official Chiefs debut a few months earlier.
“I will never forget that final,” ‘Spiderman’ reflects, “we were 1-0 down in the first half and Sundowns even added a second after the break.”
Chiefs, however, were not beaten and a brace by the Zambian Wedson Nyirenda, scored in the 51st and 66th minute, helped the score to two-all. No more goals were made before the referee’s final whistle and extra time waited. It was then that Mike Maringa added Amakhosi’s third in the 99th minute.
“It was unbelievable,” Baloyi continues, “we were two goals behind, but we fought back like lions. It was a truly enthralling game.” Spiderman was chosen as the BP Top 8 Man of the Series for his outstanding performances in goal.
Another famous final between the two teams came at the end of 1997. It was the Rothmans Cup. The first encounter ended in a one-all draw. The replay finished with the same score.
Penalties needed to decide the match. “And that’s when I made my name as a penalty specialist,” Baloyi proudly remembers. Amakhosi won the shoot-out 3-2.
The following year, the Glamour Boys beat the Brazilians again in the Rothmans Cup final on penalties, after the game had finished in a 2-2 stalemate. Baloyi was once more terrific in goal. Chiefs won the cup after having the upper hand from the spot (2-1).
“I never lost a cup final to Sundowns,” Baloyi points out.
‘Spiderman’ left Chiefs in 2004 for Sundowns. In that first season, the two titans met each other in the Charity Spectacular final. The match ended goalless. Again, penalties were to decide, with this time the Brazilians winning, 5-4. Baloyi stopped David Kannemeyer’s spot kick.
More cup games came and went. Baloyi retired in 2011, before returning as a goalkeeper coach to the Village four years later, sitting on the bench during Chiefs’ 3-1 loss to Sundowns in the 2015 Telkom Knockout final.
“I was always a very sore loser,” Baloyi says with a wry grin on his face. “If we lost, I was in a bad mood for some hours. I thought that, sitting on the bench, as the goalkeeper coach, that feeling would be at least a bit less so. However, on the contrary, it was even worse.”
‘Spiderman’ feels that the stature of clashes between Chiefs and Sundowns has risen immensely over the last 20 years or so. “The Soweto Derby is still seen as the greatest game of the season, but I feel that, on paper, games against Sundowns are now huge as well, because often a league title or a cup is at play.”
Baloyi feels that the culture between the two clubs is quite different: “There is this winning culture at the Chiefs. And, as a Glamour Boy, everywhere you go, people recognize you. Also, independent whether the team plays at home or away, the stadium is always full. The Amakhosi supporters are amazing. It’s a special feeling they give you, which is difficult to explain in words.
“Sundowns, meanwhile, have excellent support in Tshwane, but have much less supporters outside the capital.”
‘Spiderman’ is presently the assistant goalkeeper coach with the first team and also works with the talented young keepers in Amakhosi’s development structures.
“Chiefs and Sundowns are both vying for the league title,” Baloyi looks ahead to the Absa Premiership fixture between the two sides at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 1 April. “It will be a game of immense importance with much at stake. I can’t wait for the match to kick-off. It promises to be a thriller and I expect our fans to turn up in numbers to support the team.”
Tickets for this important fixture are already available at Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers outlets nationwide. The cost is R40 for adults and R10 for children under the age of 12. Hospitality and parking tickets can also be bought at Computicket.