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Ofori – We’ve Tasted It With Sundowns…

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori is salivating at the chance to play the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs in front of fans for the first time after having a taste of sold-out crowds against Mamelodi Sundowns.

Ofori, 28, joined Pirates in October 2020 from Maritzburg United during the Covid-19 pandemic and has yet to experience the atmosphere of supporters within the sold-out event at the Calabash which is set for its return on Saturday afternoon.

An event that reached palpable excitement around the country and draws global interest as one of the biggest sporting spectacles in world football remains one of the key draw cards for footballers to join Pirates or Chiefs and is something the 23-time capped Ghana international is relishing.

“It’s nice [to have fans back] because when we’re playing, we’re now playing in front of your loved ones, the family of Orlando Pirates, the big fan base. When you’re playing in front of them it’s very nice because how they support and love the team,” Ofori said at the Marriot Bonvoy partnership launch this week.

“As you said, it’s the first [derby] since Covid started and allowing fans to the derby, so we knew how important it is and how good of a feeling it is because we and the fans, it’s our first time so it will be very loving and very important for the team.”

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The Black Stars stopper admitted that it’s something that he couldn’t wait to experience as he’s now in his third campaign already with the Buccaneers, knowing the atmosphere will be like no other he’s experienced in South African football to date.

“Yeah, the beauty of the game is the fans, once they are there, the standard of the game always goes higher, so I always say, every big team that once they are playing in front of their fans, they always do well,” he added.

“So we know the feeling and then we’ve tasted the small feeling playing Sundowns at home and then Sundowns away, we’ve tasted it since the league started, having fans, so we know how important it is for the club and fans.

“We know how massive and [full] the stadium will be and then how the lovely the fans will bring the [excitement] up, that’s the beauty of the game, so we’re looking forward to playing.”

Pirates will face Chiefs for their home DStv Premiership clash on Saturday afternoon at FNB Stadium at 15h30 with a capacity crowd already confirmed on Tuesday.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.