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10 of the Biggest Football Derbies in Africa

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Soccer rivalry is one of the biggest elements that makes the game alluring. Football derbies are more than just a game for a continent that is mad about soccer. It’s about the bragging rights a team gets from winning over a fierce opponent, the excitement among the fans, and the passion. 

In this article, we’ll explore the biggest football derbies in Africa, from the Soweto Derby to the Casablanca Derby.

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1. Kaizer Chiefs vs. Orlando Pirates (Soweto Derby) – South Africa

Kaizer Chiefs vs. Orlando Pirates is one of the biggest football derbies in Africa. Their rivalry goes back to the 1970s when they met for the first time. 

Since then, they have played each other 85 times, registered 21 wins between them, and the Pirates have the largest win, a 5-1 win in 1998. 

Both clubs are located in Johannesburg. One of the things that inspired the rivalry is the fact that Kaizer Moutang started Kaizer. He was a Pirates player. 

2. Raja Casablanca vs. Wydad Casablanca (Casablanca Derby) – Morocco

Raja Casablanca vs. Wydada Casablanca is one of the biggest football derbies in Africa. Both clubs are based in Morocco and played each other for the first time in 1956. 

Over the years, the teams have met 151 times, with Raja registering the most wins with 41 and having the largest victory, a 5-1 in 1996. 

The Casablanca Derby has some cultural significance. Raja, who wears the green jersey, represents the working class in Morocco, while Wydad, who dorns red, represents the middle class. 

These contrasting attitudes make things more intense hence why it is thought to be one of the most explosive derbies in the continent.

3. Al Ahly vs. Zamalek (Cairo Derby) – Egypt

Also known as the Red vs White derby, it’s one of the biggest derbies in Africa played between two of Egypt’s biggest clubs. The first meeting between the two took place in 1917. Al Ahly has the most wins with 107, but Zamalek still has the largest victory, a 6-0 victory. 

Cairo Derby has also earned a bad wrap for its violence, some of which have been fatal and forced the Egyptian authorities to intervene. The Red vs White is considered one of the most-watched derbies, with a viewership of over 80 million.

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4. Club Africaine vs. Esperance (Tunis Derby) – Tunisia

The two biggest teams in Tunisia, Esperance, and Club Africaine, participate in the Tunis Derby. The first meeting between the two took place in 1924, and they have since met over 150 times. The two clubs represent the social and economic status as Esperance is significant with the lower class and Club Africaine with the upper class.

5. Al Merrrick vs. Al Hilal (Omdurman Derby) – Sudan

This is a derby between Sudan’s biggest clubs, Al Merrick and Al Hilal. The first match of the derby was played in 1934. Al Merrick took home the bragging rights. Since then, the two have played over 150 games, with Al Merrick having the larger share of wins between the two.

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6. AFC Leopards vs. Gor Mahia (Mashemeji Derby) – Kenya

 

The Mashemeji Derby is one of the biggest derbies in Africa. It is played between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia, Kenya’s biggest football clubs. The first game between the two teams took place in 1968. 

Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards are community clubs. The former is highly affiliated with the Luo tribe and the latter the Luhya. Both Luo and Luhya tribes come from the Western part of Kenya hence why this derby is not just about football. 

As passionate and crazy as the derby is, it’s been marred by a lot of hooliganism which takes off from the prestige. On several occasions, Gor and AFC have been summoned by authorities and fined for stadium damages. 

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7. Rayon Sports vs. Apr (Rwanda Derby) – Rwanda

From kickoff to the final whistle, this game has all the characteristics of what a derby should be. From fans chanting their club song to the stadium to cheering them on throughout the game, you will always know something is bubbling at the Amahoro Stadium in Rwanda. 

8. Yanga vs. Simba (Kariakoo Derby) – Tanzania

This isn’t just one of the biggest football derbies in Africa but also East Africa. It’s the most-watched in the region. It was first played in 1966. The games occur at the Benjamin Mkappa Stadium, normally packed to capacity. Both sides have met over 100 times.

9. SC Villa vs. Express FC – Kampala

SC Villa vs. Express FC highlights the biggest match in the Uganda National Football League. It’s not as old as the Mashemeji Derby, but it still captures the nation’s attention. The teams have only met over 20 times, with Villa winning the majority of the games (13) to Express (9). 

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10. Ethiopia Coffee vs. Saint George – Ethiopia

The Sheger Derby takes place between Ethiopia Coffee and Saint George in Addis Ababa. The rivalry brewed after the former halted the latter’s winning streak. It’s one of those times when football lovers in Ethiopia put everything aside to enjoy the spectacle. 

We love derbies. It’s what football is all about. The tension, passion, joy for winning, and everything in between. Do you enjoy football derbies? Which is your favourite football derby in Africa?

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