Parker says Soweto Derby is a special occasion
“The Derby is a special occasion,” Bernard Parker looks ahead to Saturday’s Soweto Derby. “We are all looking forward to it and we are all excited. We just need to stay focused and to be in the right state of mind.”
The Kaizer Chiefs striker had a superb game against Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday, scoring the second goal in the 2-1 win.
That victory was much needed and came as a huge bonus ahead of the Orlando Pirates encounter. The Buccaneers themselves failed to book a win on Wednesday, drawing one-all to Platinum Stars.
“There was a lot of pressure ahead of the Sundowns game,” ‘Die Hond’ admits. “We worked hard during the Fifa-break to improve as a team. We stuck together and are now looking forward to achieve even more success.”
The win has certainly boosted the confidence levels of the squad. “Playing well is all about confidence,” Parker explains.
“With our quality and with the right attitude on the day we should win the Derby. It’s all about staying tactically disciplined. We should keep doing what we have been doing.”
‘Die Hond’ joined Amakhosi in 2011, scoring his first Derby goal early in that 2011/2012 season on 17 September. The goal helped his side to beat the Buccaneers 2-1.
Since then, the forward has added one more strike in an official Soweto Derby, netting the opener in the 1-1 draw in a MTN8 semi-final, second round, on 24 September 2013.
The 31-year-old also recently scored the winner in the 1-0 victory over Pirates in the Carling Black Label Champion game in July.
Siphiwe Tshabalala is the leading scorer of the present squad with four goals in the Derby, followed by Parker and Willard Katsande with two each.
Saturday’s clash will be the 161st Soweto Derby since the first game was played on 24 January 1970, 17 days after Kaizer Chiefs were founded. Pirates won that match 6-4. At present, Chiefs have booked 67 wins to Pirates’ 38, while 51 Derbies were drawn. Five matches were abandoned, mostly because of crowd violence.
“We obviously want to win Saturday’s match,” Parker confirms, looking forward to add another victory to Chiefs’ winning legacy in the Soweto Derby. “However, we can’t go into the pitch simply thinking that we will win. There are always surprises and we have to be ready to counter those.
“And in spite of what can happen during a game with the scope of the Derby, the squad needs to stick to what we do best. We need to push ourselves physically and mentally. We need to challenge ourselves as a team and, as individual players, to get the right momentum. If we are able to do that, we will come out on tops.”