With little over a week left until the 2019 Elections, the partisan divides could not be any clearer. The battle lines have been drawn between the warring parties of the ANC, DA and EFF – lead by Cyril Ramaphosa, Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema respectively.
Chances are, you already know who you will be supporting on Wednesday 8 May. But do you know who your chosen leader will be supporting on the soccer field? All three of these guys have shown a significant interest in the game over the years, so we thought we’d look into their sporting preferences. One of them will “never walk alone”…
South African politics’ soccer fans – The teams of Ramaphosa, Maimane and Malema
Ramaphosa: A proper Banyana Banyana fan! But don’t ask about Black Leopards
Ramaphosa has played it completely safe as a public figure. He’s never committed himself to a particular team or club in South Africa. The president likes a round of golf every now and then, plus he’s an avid walker.
He does like his soccer though and extended his congratulation to the Banyana Banyana team when they secured qualification to this year’s Women’s World Cup. He even gave them a phone call to share his joy!
I had the pleasure of speaking to Banyana Banyana to congratulate them on their achievements and also wish them well as they battle Nigeria in the #AWCON2018 final. Let us rally behind our national team and give them all our support in bringing the cup home. They have been super. pic.twitter.com/9wQU5KbmKu
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) December 1, 2018
He’s had something of an up and down relationship with Black Leopards, too. The PSL club are based in Limpopo, near where Cyril first went to university as a young man.
Mmusi Maimane: Liverpool and Kaizer Chiefs
The DA leader is no stranger to showing his true colours, and he has openly admitted to supporting two very divisive sides. Liverpool are generally disliked by many English football fans outside of the city, and Chiefs aren’t exactly everyone’s favourite… as we’ll find out with the next guy on the list.
But is it fair to call Maimane a glory-hunter? Perhaps not, considering he has a little connection to Liverpool. He has a degree from Bangor University in North Wales, which is just over an hour away from Anfield. And he’s Soweto born, so his love for Amakhosi is above-board. Go on Mmusi, we’ll let you off this time.
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) April 4, 2018
Julius Malema: Orlando Pirates and “anyone but England”
A few of you may have known this already, but Julius Malema is a big fan or Orlando Pirates. Perhaps that’s why Juju and Maimane don’t get on so well? Juju has been open about his support for the Bucs, and was very honest about their recent struggles before this season:
“I support Pirates. Every time they lose, I take it very personally. Our chairman never goes to games, maybe once at the start of the season. The players struggle for motivation if there’s no management to impress.”
Meanwhile, on the international front, Malema has also managed to air his outspoken views. He slammed the Bafana Bafana fans who gave up on the team when they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, telling them to “stick by” the boys. However, he also revealed another part of his sporting preferences during that same tournament:
After Croatia had knocked England out of the semi-final, Juju had this to say:
Thank you Croatia. 🕺🏽😂👍🏿💃🏿
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) July 11, 2018
Shame, it must be killing him to see how the Three Lions have got even better over the past 12 months!
The “top three” may have their teams, but there are also a couple of other fans who deserve recognition. Patricia de Lille – leader of the Good Movement – had been a frequent attendee of Ajax Cape Town games during her time as mayor and even had them along for a sitting of council last October.
De Lille also managed to arrange a friendly fixture between the Urban Warriors and Manchester United back in 2012. Elsewhere, Mmusi Maimane has got some back-up from Bantu Holomisa: The UDM leader is also a fan of Kaizer Chiefs, and he gets to games a lot more often than his DA counterpart.