‘Peaceful protest’ planned for Soweto Derby as fans demand stadium attendance

March 2022 will signal two years since South African football fans graced stadiums across the country in jubilation watching their local clubs.

Kaizer Chiefs players celebrate. (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Kaizer Chiefs players celebrate. (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images) (Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Siyabulela Loyilane, the CEO of the National Football Supporters Association (Nafsa), has confirmed that a “peaceful protest” will occur on Saturday, 5 March, outside the Orlando Stadium.

It will coincide with the biggest matchday on the domestic calendar as Orlando Pirates entertain rivals Kaizer Chiefs in a Soweto Derby DStv Premiership encounter.

Incidentally, it will also mark the two-year anniversary of the first Covid-19 case in South Africa. The country then went into a national lockdown two weeks later, in March 2020

Meanwhile, thousands of fans are expected to join the mass protest in two weeks.

Fuming football supporters continue to aggrieve the government; the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the South African Football Association (SAFA) for no fan attendance at matches across the country.

“It has been months (23 months to be exact) since supporters were last seen at stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Loyilane, as quoted by KickOff.

“As an organisation, we have tried all measures within our capacity to engage SAFA, the Ministry of Sport and the PSL regarding a return to stadiums.

“All these efforts have fallen on deaf ears.

“It is through this that we have decided to embark on a peaceful protest to Orlando Stadium at 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 Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa in Pretoria.”

The looming gathering will be the second protest against the ongoing saga.

Political party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took to the streets last month to have their voices heard on the matter, with thousands joining EFF head honcho Julius Malema leading proceedings in Pretoria.