What country has the N°1 derby in Africa and the Arab world?

The world of football is full of local rivalries. Examples include the rivalries of the English league (Manchester United-Manchester City, Liverpool-Everton, Arsenal-Tottenham or Millwall-West Ham) or the Italian league (Lazio-AS Rome, Milan AC-Inter) or the Spain league (Barcelona and Real Madrid), and so on.

Africa, where football is the most popular sport, also has many rivalries. Discover five derbies in Africa, and learn more about their history.

1# The Casablanca derby in Morocco

The Casablanca derby considered one of the most important in the world, and is even in the top 30 worldwide! The Casablanca derby brings together the two main football clubs in Casablanca: Wydad and Raja.

This rivalry began at the beginning of the Moroccan football championship in the 1950s. The results have always been close between the two clubs. But Raja remains the most loved, the one with the most fans, and is the greatest football club in Morocco.

It was not until the 1970s and 1980s that Raja began to win more matches and was able to overtake his rival in these direct matches. Wydad used to rely on more practical experience to beat their rivals.

2# The Cairo derby in Egypt

The Cairo derby features two renowned football clubs from all over Africa: Al Ahly and Zamalek. This derby is also considered one of the « hottest » in the world of football! When these two clubs meet, the audience is there: the match is generally broadcast throughout the north of the continent as well as in the Middle East. These two clubs usually play each other at least twice in the Egyptian Premier League and often in the Egyptian Cup final.

Al Ahly and Zamalek have been successful clubs since their inception. Al Ahly has won the Premier League just under 40 times, while Zamalek has only managed to do so 12 times. On match days, there are sometimes confrontations between supporters of the two clubs.

3# The Nairobi Derby in Kenya

This derby features Gor Mahia against AFC Leopards. Both teams are based in Nairobi, which is why it’s called Nairobi Derby. It’s the oldest rivalry in Kenya. Gor Mahia has won the Kenyan Premier League 16 times, the current record! The more recent club, AFC Leopards, have won the Premier League title 13 times.

The rivalry between these two clubs began on 5 May 1989: Gor Mahia’s club player Ali Abondo was given a red card after he had behaved dangerously against AFC Leopards players. Some of the Gor Mahia club’s fans can’t stand the turn of events, especially after the ban on using the sports facilities for the rest of the season. This resentment still persists today. Hooligans do not hesitate to ransack everything during the matches between these two teams.

4# The Dar es Salaam derby in Tanzania

This derby features the Simba SC against the Young Africans SC club. It is considered one of the most important derbies in East Africa, so much so that spectators from neighboring countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan, and Burundi come to watch the matches between the two clubs. The matches usually take place at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, which can accommodate around 60,000 fans.

The Young Africans club has won the national championship 25 times, while the Simba club has only won it 18 times. The results are close between these two clubs during the direct matches.

5# The Soweto derby in South Africa

Finally, the Soweto derby features Kaizer Chiefs FC against Orlando Pirates FC, South Africa’s two leading clubs. Kaizer Chiefs FC was founded in 1970. The rivalry between the two clubs soon appeared in the following years.

Kaizer Chiefs FC won the national cup for the first time in 1971, one year later after it’s creation. Four years later, this time the club won the championship title. Orlando Pirates FC was until then considered the country’s biggest club, but Kaizer Chiefs FC’s rivalry was felt as early as 1971 when the two clubs competed against each other for the first time. Kaizer Chiefs FC won the match with a score of 4-3. Since then, the atmosphere has been particularly tense as soon as the two clubs meet.

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