Just like in the European Soccer, matches between two African rival teams are feisty affairs that are part of history and tradition. Such rivalries and derbies highly ride on past controversies and geographical location of the two teams. The teams not only compete for the three points in the game but also the prestige and bragging rights. It hard to miss the passion during the game and sometimes violent may erupt from unsatisfied players or fans.
Here are the top three African soccer rivalries you don’t want to miss in 2019:
Hearts Of Oak Vs. Asante Kotoko (African Clasico, Ghana)
This Ghanaian rivalry is unlike any other. The teams involved don’t share a city, but they share a feud that makes their games as captivating as any rivalry in the continent. The country is known as the home of football in the region, also dubbed the “Brazil of Africa” for producing some of the world’s biggest superstar.
The rivalry shared by the two big clubs in the country inspires many players, with stars like Asamoah Gyan and Prince Boateng also tracing their roots to the derby. Its history is best as colorful and controversial, leading to occasional claims of witchcraft, violence and pure football bliss.
Darling Club Motema Vs. Vita Club (Kinshasa Derby, DR Congo)
For those who love Lingala music, you’ve probably heard about the Kinshasa Derby. This rivalry has not only inspired upcoming footballers in the country, but also a lot of musicians who regularly talk of it in their songs. The two teams are known for their ferociousness whenever they meet, and their fans are always there to witness the clash.
Today, the regime endless fights and wrangles have been replaced by epic riots of color, sound and a little of the pitch nastiness whenever these clubs meet. In the past, six games have been canceled over the last four decades because of crowd disturbance. The most memorable was in 1984 when the referee abandoned the game only three minutes into the match.
Gor Mahia Vs. AFC Leopards (Mashemeji Derby, Kenya)
The Mashemeji derby is the longest standing football rivalry in Kenya. Matches between the two teams are highly anticipated by almost all the sports fans in the country, regardless of whether they live in the city, Nairobi, where most of the matches are played. The capital fills with a festival-like atmosphere whenever the two clubs meet.
As most locals will tell you, the rivalry also has a political dimension to it besides a sports one. Nonetheless, most neutrals also find this club derby to be a fascinating football spectacle mainly due to high standard gaming on offer. The two teams have won various titles in the past, and there’s plenty at stake whenever they are playing.
These days, African countries are playing a high standard of football, with leading players plying their professional careers in European Clubs. As a result, international football in the continent is often very fascinating with exceptionally skilled players showing their talent. There’s also a myriad of clubs that can build solid squads, giving you the most exciting soccer rivalries.