Football derbies do not get any bigger than this!
Boca Juniors vs River Plate, Rangers vs Celtic, Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid, Manchester United vs Manchester City, Spartak Moscow vs CSKA Moscow, Liverpool vs Everton and our own Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates. Football derbies don’t get any bigger than this!
Kaizer Chief and Orlando Pirates contest the MTN8 Final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, knowing that a win over their fiercest rivals, especially in a final, would be a massive boost to their season.
Chiefs are the form team at the moment, after an unbeaten start to the PSL season they should be favourites, but Pirates cannot be discounted especially with strikers Kermit Erasmus and Lehlehonolo Majoro in a rich vein of scoring form. Pirates were also victorious the last time these two teams met, when they defeated Chiefs on penalties to win Carling Black Label Cup in July.
Amazingly this will be the 33rd cup meeting between these two giants in the last 40 years, an indication of how they have dominated the playing fields of South African soccer.
But where did it all start?
The first Soweto Derby was played on 24 January 1970, when Chiefs and Pirates faced off in the third/fourth placed play-off of the Rogue Beer Cup. Pirates had already being in existence for 33 years, with Chiefs the young upstart, only 17 days old after having being founded by ex-Pirates player, Kaizer Motaung. The hard fought match ended in a 6-4 win for the Buccanneers.
Chief soon began to dominate their bitter rivals however, and registered big wins in 1972 (a 7-3 thriller) and 1975 (5-1). For the rest of the 70’s, Chiefs continued get mostly the better of Pirates and lead the head-to-head statistics to this day.
In recent years, Pirates have enjoyed success of Chiefs in cup competitions, with their last victory in a PSL match coming in the 2011/2012 season when they won 3-2 at FNB Stadium.
Chiefs will be looking to the in-form Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Mandla Masango to provide the creative spark. They will also have Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshablala in their squad, but both are expected to play a part off the bench.
For Pirates, they will be looking to Oupa Manyisa to supply Kermit Erasmus and Lehlehonolo Majoro who will probably feature off the bench as he has for much of the season.
With Chief’s possession based game and Pirates lightning-quick counter attacking game in direct contrast; this promises to be a fascinating match.