11.00AM Saturday morning and fans are already out in their numbers, lining up in long queues outside Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, waiting patiently, but excitedly to buy tickets for the day’s and country’s biggest club game, Yanga SC versus Simba SC.
Dubbed Dar Derby, Kariakor Derby or simply Tanzania Derby, this game brings the country to a stand still, and as expected the 60,000 capacity stadium will by kickoff time 5.00PM be full to the brim.
In this 105th clash between the two arch rivals, Yanga SC, who have had a good start to the new Ligi Kuu season, will be gunning to regain league leadership with a win, while Simba, who have had a slow start will be hoping to steady their ship and cut the gap between them and leaders Azam FC also with a win.
But this clash is less about the football; it’s more about the bragging rights, the endless business opportunities it brings, the bonding amongst ordinary Tanzanians and the general feel good outing experience.
— Bonface Osano (@bonfaceosano) November 7, 2020
Outside the stadium, various companies, majorly soft drinks makers are staging marketing shows complete with DJs, hoping to catch attention of fans and make as much sales as possible before football begins.
Individual small scale traders have also not been left behind – selling all sorts of wares most notably food and fake merchandise bearing colours and symbols of the two clubs.
Coming from a heated General Elections late last month which saw President John Pombe Magufuli getting reelected almost unanimously amidst cries of vote rigging from the opposition, you would’ve thought the mood would be less upbeat, but nothing of the sort, it’s all fun and hype.
The fixture, according to a journalist, who works with the country’s national broadcaster and did not want to be mentioned, was perfectly timed to heal the country after the acrimonious elections.
“The game was initially planned for last month, but was delayed to today, two days after the swearing in ceremony of President Magufuli ostensibly to help heal the nation.”
That is the power of Kariakor Derby that the government ensures its scheduling meets their needs and demands.