The Soweto Derby will be the main attraction in this weekend’s DStv Premiership action as Kaizer Chiefs host arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In what has for decades been the biggest fixture in the local football calendar, two colossal names in South African football go toe-to-toe for the first time this season with a valuable three points up for grabs.
The age-old rivalry takes centre stage under rare circumstances as both Soweto giants approach the highly anticipated showdown in the unfamiliar territory of mid-table. This follows indifferent results endured by both camps throughout the early part of the campaign.
It is Amakhosi who are currently higher up in the standings at seventh place, having played an additional two games compared to the Buccaneers who are two points behind in 10th position.
Chiefs were victorious at home in midweek, beating the visiting Cape Town Spurs 3-2 to bounce back from back-to-back defeats. It was only their second win in their last five league fixtures, where they have netted seven goals while conceding six.
They now host a Pirates side that has experienced a lean spell in front of goal, despite finding the net in each of their last four league games.
Bucs scraping through
The Buccaneers scraped past Sekhukhune United at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday, winning 1-0 to end a winless run that had stretched to four league matches. The game’s solitary goal was only their fourth in their five most recent games in the Premiership, where they boast two stalemates and as many defeats to go with their one victory.
Heading into the Soweto Derby, they will be eyeing back-to-back victories in a bid to build winning momentum as the season approaches the halfway mark.
Pirates have received a timely boost in playing personnel, with striker Zakhele Lepasa now eligible for selection after serving the one-match ban that forced him to sit out the game against Sekhukhune.
Similarly, the Amakhosi squad has been bolstered by the return of midfielder Sibongiseni “Ox” Mthethwa, who also took no part in his side’s midweek fixture due to suspension.
According to news from the Buccaneers website, there are injury concerns with Innocent Maela, Sipho Chaine and Paseka Mako. Chiefs too are also sweating over the availability of Siyethemba Sithebe and Ashley du Preez who have both been sidelined in recent weeks.