Tickets for Saturday’s Soweto derby almost sold out

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Organisers of this weekend’s Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are expecting the sold-out signs to go up before the close of business on Friday. Just over 9 000 general admission tickets were still available around lunch time on Thursday. Only 87 000 general and hospitality tickets are available for the 90 000-seater venue.

Regardless how Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are performing in the local football calendar, the Soweto derby is still the biggest sporting spectacle in South Africa by far. The fixture between the two Soweto giants is always a sold-out affair, and Saturday’s match will be no different.

Organisers have promised tighten security at the FNB Stadium to ensure that the derby is an incident free day. Stadium Management South Africa Managing Director Bertie Grobbelaar says gates will open at 11h30.

“It’s very strange, normally the general access sells first and then the hospitality follows. This time around the hospitality was sold out earlier this morning and it was close to being sold out two days ago. The uptake on the general access tickets in the last two days increased dramatically and I foresee by close of business tomorrow we will put up the sold-out signs.”

As always Grobbelaar has urged fans to arrive early at the stadium to avoid unnecessary delays.

“It sounds like a broken record, but we need to emphasize that message. I said earlier today if you go to a mall on Saturday and there are 6 000 people in the mall and you try and evacuate all of them at the same time you going to have congestion that’s the nature of the beast. To get 90 000 plus people into a venue with four main access arteries you are going to have congestion but if you spread that arrival over a period of time, it’s much easier,”

At the moment the two teams are only separated by a single point. Pirates are lying fifth on the DSTV Premiership with 30 point and Chiefs find themselves in sixth spot after the same number of games.

The Bucs are looking for their third successive victory in the Soweto derby in less than a year. The Buccaneers were 2-1 winners in the Nedbank semi-final in May last year, before winning the first-round league encounter by a solitary goal by Evidence Makgopa last November.

Pirates coach Jose Riveiro understands the importance of doing well in the Soweto derby, especially after the midweek disappointment against bottom of the log Cape Town Spurs on Wednesday evening.

“We want to finish as high as possible. We want to make sure that we are in the champions league next season but first things first, this is a special match at the end of the day you get three points but you also get fantastic energy when you get the three points in the derby. You get your fans really behind the team and I will be happy to see the boys performing against Kaizer Chiefs. It’s an opportunity to collect three points and also to offer to the fans what we couldn’t offer yesterday,” says Riveiro.

On the other hand, Chiefs cannot afford to lose three times in a row against their bitter rivals. Amakhosi will go into this game in high spirits after registering their first win of the year against Golden Arrows on Tuesday evening. This will be the second derby for Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson since becoming caretaker coach.

“Having a little bit of more time to play the second derby it’s always an honour as any coach in the world to be part of the derby especially on the African continent. But yes, the last time we came out we had spent 24 hours with the team and we thought the team did well. But we’ve grown with the team now and the players look like they are gelling better,” says Johnson.

The much-anticipated Saturday Soweto derby kicks off at 15h30.