Skip to main content

Famous Football Fanatics: Aaron Mokoena's 'love' for Orlando Pirates

By Jake Lofdahl, CNN
  • Mokoena grew up watching Orlando Pirates with his brother
  • The first game he saw was the derby match between Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs
  • His most memorable moment supporting the club is when they won the CAF Champions League

London, England (CNN) -- In the latest edition of Football fanzone we caught up with England Premier League club Portsmouth's holding midfielder and South African captain Aaron Mokoena to quiz him about his favourite team and their bitter rivalry with the Kaiser Chiefs.

Who do you support and why?

In South Africa my favourite football team is Orlando Pirates. I played for professional team Jomo Cosmos but I always love Orlando Pirates because that's a team that I grew up supporting.

How did you start supporting them?

My elder brother, he made me support Orlando Pirates and used to take me go along and watch the games. That really made me fall in love with the team. They had so many good players as well. That's why I fell in love with the club.

Do you remember your first game?

It was Orlando Pirates v Kaiser Chiefs, it's always a derby, I went to watch one of those and it was unbelievable and it was really, really amazing. That was the derby of Soweto, I think it was probably 1990. That is a game that everyone wants to watch. It's like Manchester United versus Manchester City or Liverpool. It's a game that you can't miss.

How are they doing at the moment?

Fact Box
Mokoena has over 80 caps for South Africa and will lead his national side in the World Cup
Mokoena has previously played for Blackburn Rovers, Genk and Dutch team Ajax

His nickname 'Mbazo' means the 'hard tackler' or the 'hard worker'

They're still doing well. Lots of youngsters... it's been generations after generations. The generation they have now are more younger players. They're adapting well and doing very well.

What is the most memorable game from Orlando Pirates you've seen?

There was a tournament, in an Africa Cup of Nations way -- but of the clubs -- and they won the tournament in 1990. It was the first team in South Africa to win such a tournament. That tournament is the toughest tournament to play. It's like the Champions League of Africa and they did extremely well, they won the cup. That really stands out for me.

It was Orlando Pirates v Kaiser Chiefs...That is a game that everyone wants to watch. It's like Manchester United versus Manchester City or Liverpool.
--Aaron Mokoena

Is Kaiser Chiefs the team you love to hate?

Not that I do hate Kaiser Chiefs but as they are the arch rivals to Orlando Pirates, I tend to have a soft spot for Pirates but not for Kaiser Chiefs. It's a brilliant club to play for as well. I would go back to South Africa and play for Kaiser Chiefs to be fair but I don't hate them. They are really professional but between Pirates and Chiefs, I would always choose Orlando Pirates.

Would you play for Orlando Pirates? Has that opportunity come up?

I have been so fortunate to sit down with the owner of Orlando Pirates and he said, "Look the moment you retire from your football in Europe make sure you come down to Orlando Pirates" -- so it's an opportunity that is there for me.

I am an ambassador for "Education -- One goal for all" and I spoke to him at the launch two months ago at the Emirates stadium and that's when we had a chat. He's a really respectable person in South Africa and him saying that meant a lot to me.

We recommend

  • New World Cup ball bounces into action 
  • Hosts South Africa drawn with France 
  • Mokoena: World Cup will leave big legacy