Legendary Orlando Pirates defender Lucky Lekgwathi spoke to Goal ahead of Saturday's Soweto Derby clash.
The FNB Stadium is the venue for the massive encounter between Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs which is one of the biggest matches in the South African football calendar.
The countdown began months, weeks and days ago, but as the moment of truth approaches with only hours to kick-off, many players usually struggle to sleep on the day before the match.
That is according to one of the best players to have donned the Pirates shirt, Lekgwathi.
“You know no matter how many derbies you play, whether it is 20 or 30 derbies, you will get sleepless nights before the match,” Lekgwathi told Goal.
“It is a big game and players think about it, talk about it because of the hype and the history of the match,” added the 41-year-old.
“The mentality is fixed on this encounter and wherever you go, you will see people wearing the colours of both teams. Whether you are at the hotel, the atmosphere tells you and that captures your mind,” noted Phinda Mzala.
As one of the senior players in the Bucs camp during his days, Lekgwathi added that he used to advise new players about the expectations of the clash.
In the current Pirates’ squad, players such as Xola Mlambo, Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga could make their debuts in the iconic clash.
The former Ria Stars centre back revealed that he usually told players to keep it simple because the first touch could ‘make or break you’.
“Sometimes as seniors, we have to a big play role to the new guys you know like to calm their nerves down,” added Lekgwathi.
“Obviously, the game attracts big numbers and it causes some nerves to the players, I always reminded the guys to calm down, take it easy and ensure that their first touch is good. So, they can settle down quickly,” Lekgwathi revealed.
“I used to tell the guys that the first touch will make or break you, forget about the fans on the stands. Let’s get down to business, this is a normal game, but it is an not ordinary one because of the two teams and history,” recalled the former Bafana Bafana international.
“I always told my guys not to try to impress too much, don’t try new things. It’s a perfect platform for players to make a name for themselves - so they need to use it," he said.
“However, coming back to Saturday's clash, I see Pirates winning 2-0 and goals will come from Justin Shonga, (Thembinkosi) Lorch…I cannot afford to exclude (Bernard) Morrison – that boy can kill any defence,” concluded Lekgwathi.