Our local football writer previews the Soweto derby clash between Chiefs and Pirates.
All heads will turn to the FNB Stadium this weekend as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates go toe-to-toe in the biggest rivalry in South African football. Steve Komphela will go up against his new foe in Kjell Jonevret, hoping to start the head-to-head statistics in his favour. Form often goes out the window for these sort of clashes, but if you must know, Amakhosi currently occupy fourth spot and are undefeated at home.
The Buccaneers are 10th in the table and are winless in 10 matches – something Mr. Jonevret needs to work on fast. Both sides come off a 1-1 draw after going a goal down last weekend. Chiefs have not beaten the Buccaneers since December 2014. However, Amakhosi have been impressive in recent weeks. That said, what better than for Kjell to win his first game as Pirates boss in the Soweto Derby. The FNB Stadium awaits…
ABSA Premiership | Saturday 4 March | FNB Stadium | 15:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Kaizer Chiefs 9/10 | Draw 23/10 | Orlando Pirates 3/1
Kaizer Chiefs have been excellent in recent weeks, going seven games without tasting defeat. Amakhosi have, however, drawn two of those matches, most recently against Ajax Cape Town, where they had to come from a goal down.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela says his team must strive to win all their remaining matches in order to challenge for the league title. Realising the competitive nature of the title race, Komphela has set the bar high for his team in their final 11 league fixtures of the campaign. "We have to win our remaining matches. Anything is possible at this stage. We must just keep applying pressure on the leaders, as they will face challenges too” he stated.
A fifth PSL title is not out of reach for the Glamour Boys. Chiefs are a point behind the log-leaders and will welcome back Lorenzo Gordinho, who has formed a solid centre-back pairing with Erick “Tower” Mathoho.
Amakhosi have not beaten the Bucs since the end of 2014, but with Komphela’s men riding a seven-match unbeaten streak, this could be the best time to play Pirates. Gordinho, Willard Katsande and Siphiwe Tshabalala are all Chiefs’ highest goalscorers with four goals this season.
Itumeleng Khune has also been one of Chiefs’ standout players this season. Amakhosi have conceded just six goals at home and will be hoping that number doesn’t change after the final whistle, extending Khune’s clean sheet tally to eight for the season.
For an Orlando Pirates supporter, there are two ways to look at things: either Kjell Jonevret is yet to win a match, or that he is undefeated as Bucs’ manager. It may take time for somebody who has never worked in the country to just adapt immediately, but time is ticking and what better way to win the fans over with a victory over their biggest rivals.
The Buccaneers are winless in 10 matches but showed signs of what is to come from Jonevret. The Orlando Pirates coach wants to see his side's performance in attack improve ahead of Saturday's Soweto derby at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Jonevret took charge of his first match for the Sea Robbers in a 1-1 draw with Polokwane City last weekend, and he believes that more potency in attack is important for the club against the Glamour Boys.
Pirates have relied too much on Tendai Ndoro to score the goals. It may have worked for them in the past, but with Ndoro failing to score in 2017, it is hurting the Bucs badly. As such, Jonevret wants to see overall improvement up front against Amakhosi.
"These fans are going to help us to win our games. They are passionate; I like that. They must just know that we are coming. We have the derby and no, I haven't seen enough of Chiefs but I have a good technical team and we'll plan accordingly. In the week ahead of the Soweto Derby, we will definitely focus on the offensive aspect of things'', he told reporters.
Dove Wome seems to be the man in form for Pirates, grabbing two goals in as many games for the Mayfair-based side. Jonevret will hope Wome’s form can influence Ndoro to find his scoring boots once again and add to his prolific goal tally of 11 for the campaign.
Verdict: Wome To Score First & Pirates Win (10/1)
As much as Kaizer Chiefs have been in superb form, Orlando Pirates have had their number. Amakhosi have failed to beat Pirates since December 2014, while the Sea Robbers will look to claim their first win in 10 matches.
Wome has netted in successive games for the Bucs and I’m backing the Togolese international to make it three in a row, along with a very first victory for Jonevret. For value, get on Wome to Score First and Pirates to Win at a staggering 10/1.
Written by Jesse Nagel @Hollywoodbets