Dladla: Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will be under less pressure without fans in stadium

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Kaizer Chiefs players, October 2020
The former Amakhosi player discusses the psychological battle between the Soweto neighbours in the derby

Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Josta Dladla believes playing inside an empty stadium will ease pressure from Amakhosi and Orlando Pirates players in the usually tense Soweto Derby.

Traditional foes Chiefs and Pirates clash in an MTN8 semi-final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Chiefs get into the derby showdown with familiar players and no additions from elsewhere after they were banned by Fifa from signing new players.

They face their rivals who made big-name signings in preparation for this season and Dladla feels it is a huge opportunity for Amakhosi’s young players to “raise their hands” and be recognised in a match of such magnitude.

“They didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, plus he [Hunt] can’t sign any player at the moment,” Dladla was quoted as saying by IOL.

“He had to inherit the players from someone else. But that gives an opportunity to the younger players that we haven’t seen before. Are they going to take the opportunity and raise their hands?

“It’s going to be interesting to see. Coming to the derby, it will be interesting to watch, considering that there won’t be fans and that might ease the pressure on some of the players.”

To counter the transfer ban, Hunt has invested more trust in young players who had limited playing opportunities under his predecessor Ernst Middendorp.

Players like Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Njabulo Blom are slowly becoming regulars under Hunt, while 17-year-old Keletso Sifama and Lebogang Lesako are also getting their chances.

Dladla says playing against Pirates should be in itself a motivation for Kaizer Chiefs.

“It’s still early stages. And I think that we just need to give Mr Hunt a chance to build the team,” said Dladla.

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“He won’t have to do much against Pirates. If playing against them doesn’t give you motivation, then there’s something that’s wrong with you.”

To reach the MTN8 last four, Chiefs edged Maritzburg United 2-1 and they have also encountered mixed fortunes in their two Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches; first losing 3-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns, before a 1-0 win over Chippa United.

But what could be a huge concern to Hunt is his forwards who are yet to score in three games as defender Yagan Sasman grabbed a brace against Maritzburg while an own goal handed them victory over Chippa.