Our scribe previews the Carling Black Label Cup, with Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates doing battle on Saturday 30 July.
Sowetan giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates lock horns at the iconic FNB Stadium on Saturday in the 2016 Carling Black Label Champion Cup. This mouth-watering clash gives fans the privilege to influence the starting line-up and be the coach, as well as calling the in-game substitutions.
The event has been dominated by the black and white of Pirates in recent years, with the Mayfair-based outfit clinching four of the last five competitions. In addition to that, new Bucs head coach Muhsin Ertugral knows Amakhosi very well having managed them over two spells which gives Pirates an advantage for this clash.
Steve Komphela will be eager to put last season’s disastrous campaign behind him and deliver the goods in his second season, starting with the Carling Black Label Champion Cup. One certainty is that this will not be treated as a pre-season friendly. Whenever these two Soweto giants meet, there is always a lot at stake for everyone involved or connected to the respective clubs. This will also test both teams’ readiness for the new campaign.
Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates | Saturday 30 July | FNB Stadium | 15:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Chiefs 18/10 | Draw 18/10 | Pirates 18/10
The starting-line ups will be confirmed on Wednesday 27 July but this article is written prior.
Despite reaching two finals and finishing fifth in the league, Amakhosi fans were displeased and will rightly be expecting better performances this season. Komphela will be desperate for silverware in his second season at Naturena.
The Glamour Boys, who recently completed a 10-day training camp in Mpumalanga, will be hoping to claim bragging rights over their arch-rivals this weekend. Although regarded as a friendly, winning the Soweto derby will be huge and it automatically gives you that boost of confidence heading into the new season. Komphela has said his players need to approach every game with high energy and fitness levels.
Chiefs will be boosted by the availability of star duo Itumeleng Khune and Eric Mathoho in the squad despite their Olympic Games commitments, while fans are voting to see George Lebese‚ Willard Katsande, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Hendrick “Pule” Ekstein and Daniel Cardoso. Chiefs’ nine new signings – including Ramahlwe Mphalele‚ Sibusiso Khumalo‚ Mitchell Katsvairo‚ Edmore Chirambadare and Keagan Buchanan – have not yet broken into the starting line-up having been late starters in the voting process.
Orlando Pirates have been the holder of the Carling Black Label Cup for four of the five years and this year will prove to be a mammoth spectacle, with the two teams fighting it out for bragging rights. The 2016/17 season will mark 80 years since Orlando Pirates was formed in 1937 and their fans will hope the Bucs can honour that birthday with trophies. Under Ertugral, Pirates are expected to be a force to be reckoned with. The Turkish mentor has backed himself to deliver and sees himself as a conductor tasked with fine-tuning an orchestra. Ertugral is in many ways a massive upgrade in the Pirates dugout compared to his predecessor Tinkler, who failed to win over the fans and was even nicknamed ‘Toddler’ because supporters felt the gig was just too big for him.
Although the league title might have eluded him at Amakhosi in his two stints, Ertugral knows how to win and he can make his blend of youth and experience at Pirates balance out to meet his mandates. Last season it often felt like there was not enough direction for these players to perform to the best of their ability, but Ertugral’s approach could just be the right tonic.
The pre-season showcase will present Ertugral with the perfect opportunity to have a look at his squad in action against their Soweto rivals. Orlando Pirates players Abbubaker Mobara, Gift Motupa, Thabiso Kutumela and Tercious Malepe will miss the friendly due to their South African Olympic commitments.
The supporters are keen to see their star playmaker‚ Oupa Manyisa‚ back in the starting line-up having suffered an injury for most of last season, while Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro – who set the second half of last season alight with 10 goals in 19 league and cup games in 2016 – is likely to lead the Bucs’ attack.
Verdict: Pirates 18/10 (90 Mins)
Pirates are unbeaten against Chiefs in five meetings with two wins – furthermore, the Bucs have won four from their last five Carling Black Label Cups. And with players keen to impress Ertugral, Pirates are tipped to come out on top.
Written by The Doctor’s Orders for @Hollywoodbets