Absa Premiership | Saturday 30 January | FNB Stadium | 15:30
The PSL will come to a standstill on Saturday afternoon as Orlando Pirates play host to Kaizer Chiefs in the greatest rivalry known to South African football. The much-anticipated Soweto derby should prove to be an absolute humdinger. With Pirates languishing in the bottom-half of the table and Chiefs eight points off the top of the log; maximum points is a matter of the utmost importance for both sides.
To Win (90mins)
Orlando Pirates 19/10
Kaizer Chiefs 14/10
Orlando Pirates fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss away to Jomo Cosmos last time out, which was their sixth league defeat this term; the same amount of losses they suffered throughout the whole of the 2014/15 season. Pirates, who missed a first-half penalty through Lehlohonolo Majoro, are 11th in the standings with 16 points from 14 games and seven above the drop zone. They will now face a stern test from their arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs who remain unscathed on their travels.
The Buccaneers have recorded just one victory from a total of four matches played this year, and Eric Tinklers charges will be desperate to find the form which saw them reach the CAF Confederations final last November. Pirates were supposed to fly up the Absa Premiership in 2016, with the weight of continental competition now off their backs, instead, they have remained stuck in no-man’s-land, with the defeat to Jomo Cosmos making it just five points out of a possible 12 in the new year. To make matters worse, three of those poor results have come against the league’s bottom three. Pirates did beat Tuks, but had to scramble back from 3-0 down to draw with Maritzburg United, before Saturday’s defeat in Potchefstroom. A loss to Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby could well spell the end for the beleaguered Pirates coach.
The Bucs do have the players to match Amakhosi in every department. Thabo Rakhale has been a stand-out performer for his team this term with his dazzling tricks and flicks. He has great ability on and off the ball, and his quick feet and speed make him a constant threat on either flank. Issa Sarr will anchor the midfield. The 29-year old can turn defence into attack with his excellent long-range passing, hard-running and workmanship.
Kaizer Chiefs lost 2-1 to Platinum Stars in an open and enthralling Absa Premiership match at the Cape Town Stadium last Sunday afternoon, ending an unbeaten run of five matches. Camaldine Abraw opened the score in the first half, while the visitors scored twice after the break with a brace from Eleazar Rodgers. It was an unfortunate and undeserved loss in front of a fantastic crowd of about 20 000 spectators that supported the team throughout. Amakhosi, however, remain the only team undefeated on their travels this term, but have only registered two wins from seven games on the road.
Manager Steve Komphela’s less-than-flattering record as a head coach has been questioned time and again but the ex-Maritzburg United mentor insists he is the right man for the job. Like Komphela said in February 2013: “Statistics are like a bikini, they don’t reveal everything.” And he has a point - the clubs he has managed don’t compare with the resources he has at his disposal at Chiefs. He has done well during his career, becoming one of the most respected coaches in local football. Amakhosi fans are used to winning silverware and Komphela will be expected to deliver the goods this season, especially with the players at his disposal.
Verdict: Kaizer Chiefs 14/10
Pirates won the reverse tie 3-1 and Chiefs will be eager to avenge that defeat. It should be a tightly contested match as it usually is, and with both teams coming off defeats, the victory is all the more important. The Glamour Boys are tipped to claim the bragging rights with a much-needed win.
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