Orlando Pirates are set to welcome arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs to the Orlando Stadium when the two sides square off in a mouth-watering Soweto derby clash in the DStv Premiership on Saturday afternoon.
Pirates will come into this game hoping to return to winning ways after they were held to a goalless draw against Cape Town City in their last DStv Premiership clash at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The Buccaneers’ last three games saw them suffer a defeat to Al-Ittihad Club in the CAF Confederation Cup followed by a comfortable 6-2 win over Royal Leopards before playing to a stalemate against the Citizens.
Kaizer Chiefs recently claimed third place in the DStv Premiership standings after their last-gasp 1-0 win over Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium through a stoppage-time winner by Khama Billiat.
Amakhosi have had mixed results in their last three games, having conceded a 1-0 defeat to TS Galaxy in the Nedbank Cup before playing out to a goalless draw against Cape Town City in the DStv Premiership before returning to winning ways against Baroka last weekend.
Head To Head:
In the last five meetings between the two teams, the result have been even between Pirates and Chiefs as both teams have claimed two wins apiece while only one game has ended in a stalemate.
Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi says: “We can’t lie, it helped us that the team from Eswatini qualified [for the group stage] because you can imagine if we had a team from Algeria.
“In this competition, it is not always just a test of football, it is also a test of other factors. The hostility you face there, the travel arrangements, the waiting at the airports, it is a challenge you don’t need, especially with a fixture list like ours.
“Lessening the travel does assist our team and it is going to be easy next week against Kaizer Chiefs.”
Opposition boss Stuart Baxter added: “I think the lads deserve a massive pat on the back for two reasons; one, because they kept going and kept on believing that we could [win], despite having, I think, 16 strikes on goal and eight on target, and still [could not] get our noses in front.
“But also because we have Pirates up this week, next game up, and traditionally it is always one you think the game before [the derby] ‘will they take their eye off the ball?’ On both accounts, I thought we kept our discipline well.
“Now we can take the positives out of this [game], and I think there were many, and take them with us back to Joburg and the three points, and look forward to the derby [against Pirates].”
Bandile Shandu has by far been Pirates’ top performance this campaign, having contributed to seven goals, scoring six of them and assisting a further one, while Khama Billiat has been one of Amakhosi’s standout performances in recent games as he managed to bag two goals and assists in Chiefs’ last three matches.
The Buccaneers will be boosted by the fact that they have no casualties for the derby and will be roar to take on their arch-rivals with a fully fit squad at their disposal.
The Glamour Boys will have a fully fit squad for the Soweto derby with the exception of Dumisani Zuma, who remains sidelined due to injury but they welcomed the return of Siyabonga Ngezana in their last game against Baroka FC.
Possible Starting Lineup:
Orlando Pirates: Siyabonga Mpontshane, Bandile Shandu, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Paseka Mako, Olisa Ndah, Fortune Makaringe, Thabang Monare, Kabelo Dlamini, Goodman Mosele, Deon Hotto, Kwame Peprah.
Kaizer Chiefs: Brandon Peterson, Austin Dube, Eric Mathoho, Daniel Cardoso, Reeve Frosler, Kearyn Baccus, Phathutshedzo Nange, Njabulo Blom, Khama Billiat, Keagan Dolly, Samir Nurkovic.