Fierce rivals to clash again after 16-year hiatus

After last playing each other 16 years ago, Old Collegians (OC) and Progress are set to revive one of the oldest rivalries in Komani when the two sides go head-to-head for the first time since 2005.

There is no love lost between the two sides, so fireworks are expected on and off the field. It is personal, families will be divided, friends will turn foe and for 80 minutes the whole VAN (Victoria Park, Aloevale and Newrest) will come to a standstill. It is surely not a place for the faint-hearted.

There is a fierce rivalry that has gripped the Van community for years. The history between the two sides is well documented, especially after the breakaway of some players from Progress to reform Old Collegians. Progress was formed after the amalgamation between Olympians and Old Collegians, but the honeymoon was not so rosy, with some players breaking away to reform OC.

One can only reminisce on legends going against each other. The rivalry on the pitch was intense, with Brian Williams going head-on against Theo Simons, Clive Jekels against Tim Arends, Marvin Sass against Metternich Arends. Household names donned the colours in match-ups between the sides like Venture Maqogoza, Ashley Mejai Megillies, Lario Arends, Byron Williams, Denzil McCaskill, Claude van Dyk and many more, without disrespecting those not mentioned.

On either side of the fence will be Jerome Jasson as president of OC, who ironically had fierce battles on the field of play against Basil Bosch in their heyday, and is now president of Progress.

Both teams will go into the match high in confidence as both have played three matches, winning two and losing one. Progress won against Ikhala, lost against Breakers and won the return match against Breakers. Collegians won against Ikhala and against Amatola Stars, but lost 5-0 against Breakers last weekend.

But in these games form goes out of the window with the slightest of mistakes sometimes proving suicidal. OC will pin their hopes on Jason Potgieter, Romaine Flusk, Neville Olivier, Sean Baartman, Clive Douw, Darren Williams, Colin Kemp, Dillon McCaskill, Brandon van Schalkwyk, Darren Davids and Enzo Sass who bring a wealth of experience, combined with scintillating young talent in Dustin Redcliffe, Waydee de Souza, Kyle Matham, Rebirtho Smiles and Swithin Lottering.

Progress will unleash Larry Blignaut, Jonathan Hare, Yarnick Hare, Beertjie Olivier, Remario Flusk, Ulrich Ruiters, Jora Fortuin, Che’ van Dyk, Rochaa Goodman and Dale Williams. Stakes are high, with Progress taking no chances by acquiring the services of Fort Hare Varsity Shield utility back Brandt Fields.

On the coaching front there is the trio of Carlisle Jordaan, Reo van Schalkwyk and Connie von Cullwitz of OC against Vaughan Tromp and Lefty Coetzee of Progress.

All roads will lead to Mlungisi Stadium with the match set to start at 3.30 pm. The talking is done, now it is time to show who is the number one team and gets the bragging rights in the Van area.

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