The Soweto Derby remains the biggest match on the local football calendar despite the fact that the two teams are not on top of their game at the moment.
Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will clash in their first Derby of the season at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. They are seventh and sixth on the DSTV log respectively, separated by just two points. A win for either side tomorrow will revive their chances to stay in touch of the early pace setters.
The two Soweto giants are playing second fiddle to league defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns and need to find form in order to challenge the dominant Pretoria club. But both sides have the quality to deliver on the day.
The last four matches between the two sides produced nine goals, with Pirates winning the first three and Chiefs winning the last encounter. The two Soweto clubs have been struggling in front of goals so far this season. Both sides have scored just ten goals in nine matches.
New signing Keegan Dolly should be the man to watch in the Amakhosi side, even though he will be playing in his first Soweto Derby.
“It’s about the whole team at Chiefs and you can see if the whole team performs, I get to shine Khama gets to score goals, Bernard gets to score goals and when we don’t do well the whole team suffers. But for me personally obviously it’s my first Derby, I’m quite excited. You know when I came back I told myself that I always wanted to be part of an occasion like this, and you know I got the opportunity now and hopefully I can stay calm and deliver on the day,” says Dolly.
Like in the past, the occasion is big enough to either make or break a player who is playing in his first ever Soweto Derby. And Bucs will also have players who will be playing in their first Soweto Derby.
“It’s just a matter of taking in the experience just the work behind the scenes it shows that it’s a very big game when the fixtures come out of the premiership, it’s the first two fixtures that you look forward to. You want to see which date is the Derby. So it’s just taking in the experience for me, it’s still surreal I’m still enjoying each and every moment of it but not forgetting the main focus which is playing on the day and giving my best,” says Orlando Pirates midfielder Bandile Shandu.
Chiefs cannot afford to lose twice in a row, after going down to Stellenbosch FC on Tuesday, but Pirates will not be complacent. Earlier this week, Pirates came from behind to beat a determined Sekhukhune United 2-1, and they would want to build on that performance.
“Kaizer Chiefs is still Kaizer Chiefs deadly in their attack Dolly, Billiat, and Bernard upfront we just have to be extra cautious when we lose the ball because they are very good on transition, they are very good on set plays. But if we do impose our game on them and try and exploit the spaces which we think they leave in their attack we will get the result, it’s a game where you cannot make many mistakes we have to be ruthless in front of goal if we do that Pirates will come out tops,” says Mandla Ncikazi, Orlando Pirates caretaker coach.
“I won big going into the Derby and lost it. The only Derby which I have lost we had a massive result just going into it and yet I’ve been pretty miserable after the performance leading to many Derbies, for example the semi-final when we beat Pirates in the semi-final. I was really critical about the performance the one before but we won the semi-final so my experience is that you don’t gain momentum and if you do it’s false momentum. The Derby lives its own life,” says Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter.
The game kicks off at half past three and it will be screened live on SABC 1.