Organisers of the 166th Soweto derby will not leave anything to chance, the same plan that worked for the last derby in October in 2018, will be implemented again at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
More than 85 000 fans are expected for the match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Soweto derby remains South African football’s biggest event by far, in terms of crowd attendance.
A series of meetings involving different role players are held leading up to the event. An Event Safety Security Planning Committee is always established to help identify possible risks based on previous events. The past two derbies at the same venue were incident-free.
Organisers had to up their game after the death of two fans during an off-season tournament involving the two clubs in July 2017.
MD of Stadium Management South Africa, Bertie Grobbelaar, says that they have identified and addressed certain risks relating to illegal tickets.
“We were extremely happy with the previous derby in October and how it went. We have identified certain risks related to illegal ticketing that we have addressed. We are going to deploy the holding cells again. The police will be deployed together with Stadium Management representatives, together with Computicket. So, if anybody is found in possession of a fake ticket, they will be arrested and prosecuted.”
SAPS’s Lorraine van Emmerik says more than 1 400 private security personnel will be on duty on the day. They will be assisted by the South African Police Services, the Public Order Policing Unit, as well as the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.
“We have learnt from past experience. We’ve got extra personnel that will be inside that will be walking around to make sure that there’s no pick-pocketers. We’ve got extra people that will be under cover, that people will not recognise, that will be wearing civilians, that will be within the crowds so that we can pick up the people who are causing problems for people who have come here to enjoy.”
A fully equipped medical centre will be in operation at FNB Stadium on Saturday. It will be manned by 64 qualified medical personnel. Medical Consultant Rolf Schana says that it is a huge responsibility to guard soccer fans, but they look forward to it.
“We are looking after 90 000 souls. We have been for a number of years. Ten years at this stadium, we’ve looked after so many derbies. We love looking after soccer fans. It’s really a great responsibility and we look forward to it.”
Parking will again be free and fans have been urged to arrive at the stadium well before kick-off.
Gates open at 11:30 and the match starts at 15:00.