Like any other Soweto Derby, there were lessons to be learned in last year’s event at the FNB Stadium, and Goal looks back at the experiences of last season’s match.
Fans still love the Soweto Derby
In recent years, the Soweto Derby has been criticized, and some fans feel it has lost its spark.
However, the majority still buys tickets and they go to stadiums whenever these two giants of South Africa clash.
In 2015, the FNB Stadium wasn’t packed to the rafters, but what we saw last year was different. The atmosphere in and around the stadium was at an all-time high.
A section of disgruntled fans tried to plant the idea of boycotting this year’s event, but then those who’ve lost interested in the match failed to influence the majority, and yet again we have a sold out match.
Players understand the meaning of satisfying fans
Both teams showed enough determination and hunger to want to win. Chiefs won the day, but Pirates also put in a solid shift and played for their fans.
It’s no longer a pre-season friendly match, but the game where players are judged on what they can offer their respective clubs in the new season.
Almost every player gave their all on the day, and it was one of the most entertaining Soweto Derby matches in the past few years, but there’s still room for improvement.
If Chiefs and Pirates can replicate the same performance in this year’s event, then more fans would certainly come back.
New players often struggle to gather enough votes to warrant starting places in their teams for this cup, and last year was no different.
However, they are given a chance, they often rise to the occasion. Maybe because of the magnitude of the game.
Lewis Macha won the hearts of many Amakhosi fans with that header in the dying minutes of the last season’s Carling Black Label Champion Cup match.
He was expected to be the club’s leading striker after that goal, but he failed to live up to the expectations, and he spent the better part of the season kicking his heels on the sidelines.
What we learned with Macha’s situation is that the performance of new arrivals on the day isn’t always what the fans can expect the following season.
Is the trend similar to last year?
As much as this clash is just a pre-season friendly, the excitement from the fans is still the same. What makes the one-day event more entertaining and different this year is the fact that they were given the opportunity to come up with suitable formations for their teams.
Of course, the fans voted for the majority of their tried and tested players, but with that in mind, they still want to see their new signings on the pitch, which they will definitely get to see depending on their availability.
Now, it's up to the players to give the fans what they have been longing for a long time - excitement and goals.