Ahead of the much-anticipated Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, here are five talking points ahead of the encounter at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The Glamour Boys are set to square off for the first instalment of the Soweto derby in the DStv Premiership this season when they renew their rivalry over the weekend.
Bucs facing an injury crisis
The Sea Robbers are sitting with a major injury crisis ahead of the derby as they have been without the services of Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule, Innocent Maela, Zakhele Lepasa and Happy Jele through injury.
However, Pirates’ injury list has gone from bad to worse as they face another setback with Olisa Ndah also added to the list after he picked up an injury and was stretchered off the field during the win over Sekhukhune United on Tuesday, leaving Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids with something thinking to do for the match.
Can Pirates discover form in front of goal?
Since the start of the campaign, the Buccaneers have struggled in front of goal and scored only 10 goals and conceded eight in nine matches in the league so far this season.
Mandla Ncikazi said, ahead of the Soweto derby, that he is worried about his team’s conversation rate and form in the final third after Pirates won one and drawn four in the last five matches, in which they only managed to score four goals.
“We are struggling a bit in the attacking third, we are creating chances but what is left is putting the ball in the net,” he said.
“If you check all the matches we have played, how many chances have we created and didn’t take — but we are work in progress. I am 80% satisfied, but a coach is never satisfied.
“We still created chances, but we want to be creative with the ball. We want to outmuscle opponents. We want to outsmart opponents, and if we say we are that team we should do that. Take our chances, which is not what we are doing at the moment to the best of our ability.”
Chiefs hoping to bounce back from defeat to Stellies
Prior to their game against Stellenbosch FC, Amakhosi were on a four-game unbeaten run in the league and also on a two-game winning streak, having drawn two games against Marumo Gallants and AmaZulu, while claiming wins over Chippa United and SuperSport United.
But Chiefs unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday afternoon after they fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of an in-form Stellenbosch FC side at the FNB Stadium through a decisive goal from Ashley du Preez. Stuart Baxter’s men will now be hoping to return to winning ways as they look for all three points in the biggest game of the season.
Pirates looking to extend unbeaten run
The Buccaneers will go into the encounter high in confidence after they extended their unbeaten run in the DStv Premiership to four-games following their 2-1 comeback victory against Sekhukhune United at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
Pirates are hoping to carry their current momentum in the derby as they look to exact revenge on their crosstown rivals, who defeated them 4-3 on penalties in the 2021 Carling Black Label Cup in the curtain raiser for the 2021-22 season.
Still no spectators allowed
Many fans were hopeful they would have the opportunity to experience the clash live from the stadium after the government recently allowed 2 000 fans to the same stadium when Bafana Bafana hosted Ethiopia in their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers as well as allow 2 000 supporters into the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the MTN8 final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City.
The Premier Soccer League had already planned for 2 000 spectators to watch the game at the stadium, but it looks like that is unlikely to happen, despite the magnitude of this encounter as the stadium management revealed that they are preparing for the match to be played without spectators.
Which team will benefit from not having their fans backing them?