Chiefs can open up big lead if they win but Pirates seek to haul them in to level at the top
Kaizer Chiefs have a chance to open up a significant lead and score a major morale victory as they take on arch rivals Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby on Saturday.
A win for AmaKhosi would put them six points ahead of the Buccaneers in the Premier Soccer League and ensure that they are also certain to be at the top of the log when the campaign reaches the halfway point just before Christmas.
But if Pirates secure victory, and it can be argued they are a better form team on results over the last five matches, then they will be level on points.
It is no wonder then that Pirates coach Roger de Sa called it a “six pointer” match.
“For the first time in a while, both teams are evenly matched," he added as he goes into his first Soweto derby.
Counterpart Stuart Baxter is also a derby rookie but well aware of its importance from his time in charge of Bafana Bafana.
Previous form does not count ahead of a derby match," Baxter said. "The game is massive, a showpiece for South African football that we can be proud of. This is the face of local football and both teams need to step it up a bit."
"I foresee an open game; both teams like to have a go at the other," added De Sa. "We got to focus on what we can do in a cat and mouse situation. If they don't have the ball, there isn't much that they can do."
De Sa is still unsure whether he will field recently returned Benni McCarthy or Collins Mbesuma but Chiefs attack will be led by Bernard Parker, whose eight goals make him the top scorer in the league this season.Organisers have told spectators without tickets to stay home, as none will be sold at the stadium.A crowd of more than 90 000 is expected.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Pirates have a good home record so far this season, with four wins, one draw and one loss. That lone loss came against another Soweto side, Moroka Swallows.
- Chiefs have recorded three wins, two draws and one loss from their six away matches so far this season.
- In head-to-head stats, Chiefs have won 64 of the 146 matches played between the two since 1970, with Pirates recording 35 victories in that time.
- Pirates striker Benni Mccarthy is an avowed Chiefs supporters, but netted twice against the AmaKhosi in their last meeting in March, a 3-2 win for Bucs.
- Last season, Amakhosi won their home match against Bucs 2-1, but the team in black and white took revenge with a 3-2 win in the return game. Both fixtures were played at Soccer City.