Never mind that there is a possibility of a downpour spoiling the 90-minute football party at the Kamuzu Stadium today.
Surely, the skyrocketing devaluation that has punched holes in wallets, might keep away those fans weighing the opportunity cost of football versus putting bonya on the table.
Never mind that the cordoned off terraces might limit the freedom of physical expression at the theatre of domestic football dreams.
Whatever the case, those who believe in everything good about the Blantyre derby will throng the stadium to see age old rivals Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers tangle. For the last time this year.
We remember derbies for varied reasons. Every Blantyre derby reminds me of the induction I received into this job.
Having worked for ‘small’ newspapers for two years from1998, I finally got a break into the big time in 2000.
It could not be better than an assignment to cover Bullets/Wanderers match.
But the excitement was to vanish as an armed police officer was to, despite producing my identity card, push me violently out of the stadium’s gate.
The officer, who used to attract attention with his big frame, rifles and tear gas canisters hanging all over his body, then grabbed me by the neck. Like a seasoned boxer, he punched me.
To their credit, my colleagues, who despite having already entered, in protest refused to cover the match. For the first time, a Blantyre derby was not covered by newspapers. Since that time, I have always remembered Blantyre derbies for the wrong reasons. That blow.
I hope today’s derby will be remembered for good reasons. After all, derbies spice up football.
Come to think of that El Clasico at the turn of the century. They burnt his posters right in the Nou Camp terraces. To ashes.
On his return since his record switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid, the hosts’ fans could not stomach the sight of Luis Figo in the arch enemy’s colours. They threw at the Portuguese legend a pig’s head.
Such is the power of the derby. In every country, there is always a derby to stir wide range of emotions.
In Brazil, they thrill at the sight of Boca Juniors against River Plate. Celtic versus Rangers meeting is not for the faint-hearted in Scotland just like Manchester United facing Liverpool in England. The Kop of old.
Ajax Amsterdam against Feyenoord is a must-watch in the Netherlands. Zamalek and Al Ahly shake the very foundation of Egypt football. Soweto’s football extremists express themselves during Kaizer Chiefs dance with Orlando Pirates in South Africa.
And of course back home, there is this Blantyre derby to test Bullets and Wanderers title credentials while at the same time testing the fans on how they will manage life with limited seats at the stadium.
The fans passed the first test on Sunday in Bullets’ 2-2 draw with Mafco. More will be expected today.