Soweto Derby a must-win for Kaizer Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs players
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If Kaizer Chiefs want to stay in the hunt to win the Absa Premiership this season, then a win over arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby is non-negotiable.

Amakhosi are currently sixth on the log after 19 matches, trailing log leaders Bidvest Wits by 10 points. The two teams clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Kaizer Chiefs have blown hot and cold this season, and they need to find some consistency in the second half of the season.

Amakhosi have just won seven matches so far, with six losses and six draws. A below par start to the season forced the glamour club to terminate the contract of Italian coach Giovanni Solinas in December.

Ernst Middendorp, who had his first stint with the club between 2005 and 2007, is slowly turning things around, but Chiefs now need to up the ante to keep their title hopes alive.

Chiefs striker Bernard Parker says that the players have decided to go all out.

“We’ve made a commitment as the players. We sat down that we have to go all out. We have to go full force for the last remaining second round fixtures. We go full force. We go all out. We get as much points as we can. We focus on ourselves.”

However, the players are aware that the upcoming match against Orlando Pirates will be tricky. It’s a team they haven’t beaten since 2014, but midfielder George Maluleka says that they will leave everything on the field.

“We always want to make sure that we leave everything on the field and get a positive result, as you saw the last match we played against Cape Town City. What happened there (was) a big setback. So, we are looking to get a positive result to make sure that we stay with up there with the pack – the rest of the teams.”

The Kaizer Chiefs legends are hoping for a complete turnaround under Middendorp. The 60-year-old German has not lost against the Bucs in previous derbies.

Legend Donald Khuse says that they have had enough of losing to Pirates.

“We had enough now of being beaten by Pirates and we have prepared ourselves very well this week and I’m sure that we are going to make it. We are going to beat Pirates.”

Another Chiefs legend, Arthur Zwane, says that the derby is a great opportunity for players to showcase their talent.

“This kind of games, they get the best out of any player that is given an opportunity to showcase his talent and yeah, we’re expecting everybody to be ready for this one. Regardless … in terms of results, and who performed poorly in the previous game, when this one comes, everybody is ready.”

With first-choice Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune out with a long-term injury, Chiefs could be forced to hand new signing Daniel Akpeyi his first Soweto Derby cap on Saturday. There are less than 5 000 tickets still available for the match.