Both teams have been far from convincing in the opening stages of the season. After an uninspiring start, losing their two opening matches, Kaizer Chiefs gradually have ascended to the summit of the log with 13 points from six matches while their foes occupy third spot with nine points plus a game in hand. But as history has proven, previous form counts for nothing when these two sides meet with Chiefs having the better record in previous meetings. Amakhosi have come out victorious 67 times out of the 154 occasions between the two while the Buccaneers have claimed 38 wins with 49 matches ending in stalemates.
The pressure will without a doubt be on the two coaches who are yet to win the hearts of their hard to please supporters. Chiefs’ coach, Steve Komphela is yet to deliver silverware to the decorated trophy cabinet of the club after taking over from Scottish Stuart Baxter. The former national U-23 coach has been under fire from the Amakhosi faithful, who have questioned his tactics in some games. Komphela has only registered a single victory in a competitive match against Pirates, which was decided via the lottery of penalties. Should players such as William Thwala and George Lebese turn up the party on Saturday, Komphela could put smiles on the faces of the supporters and make a significant stride to challenging for league honours.
Muhsin Ertugral, who is also no stranger to the pressure of the Soweto derby having led Kaizer Chiefs previously, has yet to find a winning formula. Ertugral’s arrival to Pirates raised hopes with the Bucs faithful with the coach’s impressive CV and cup pedigree. Albeit a few disciplinary issues that he has had to deal with, Ertugral has gradually combined a team that can challenge for honours.
While both teams boast a talented squad, a lot of focus will be on each of the clubs Zimbabwean imports. In-form striker, Tendai Ndoro has been clinical in front of goal this season for Pirates, topping the scoring charts with six goals from five matches. His countryman, Michelle Katsvairo may not have found the back of the net as much as expected but the striker’s off the run movement and ability to move away from defenders could give headaches to the Pirates defence.
Speaking ahead of the iconic clash, Komphela cautioned that derbies tend to favour teams that are not in the greatest form, referring to the clubs three recent straight victories.
“We going into the derby, the underdogs tend to come out victorious. We cannot afford to be complacent. We are highly focused and concentrated on the match. We will approach the match forgetting the good run we have had recently. If you go into a derby thinking you have won already, you will be hurt,” said Komphela.
Ertugral will be careful not to go for an all out attack that could leave his side vulnerable to Chiefs’ quick counter attacks.
“We will be focusing on our strengths on Saturday. We are a very offensive team but we need to be careful as too much attack opens you up to counter attacks. We know how difficult it will be but we need to win this to reclaim our position at the top” said Ertugral.
Soweto Derby Key Figures
Total Matches Played 154
Kaizer Chiefs Wins 67
Kaizer Chiefs Goals 208
Orlando Pirates Wins 38
Orlando Pirates Goals 168