The first major piece of silverware for the new season in South African football will be up for grabs this weekend as the Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates lock horns in the Carling Black Label Cup. This cup gives the fans the opportunity to “Be The Coach” where they get to choose the players to start in the team by voting. Pirates have won the two previous editions, both via penalty shootouts after 90 minutes. Tickets were sold out three weeks ahead of the much anticipated showpiece taking place at Soccer City.
Supporters will now be able make a substitution in the 50th minute and select the player they want to vote onto the field, as opposed to one they want to remove. The team’s regular coach will then decide the player that should be replaced. This means if there is a fan-favourite who does not make the starting line-up, supporters will still be able to vote him into the game. To vote the player onto the pitch, Kaizer Chiefs will SMS the player’s jersey number to 30671, while Orlando Pirates will use 30672.
To Win (90mins)
Kaiser Chiefs 15/10
Orlando Pirates 18/10
Kaizer Chiefs come into this match as slight favourites this year after winning the league last season. They won the double by also winning the Nedbank Cup and will want to start the new season by winning another trophy, prior to last season they enduring a dry spell of silverware. Chiefs have delighted their fans by re-signing Zimbabwe international striker Knowledge Musona on loan from German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim. Musona who was affectionately known as ‘The Smiling Assassin’ to his fans, living up to his nickname in his first spell with Chiefs, scoring 28 goals in 49 starts for the Naturena club between 2009 and 2011. It was a scoring ratio that endeared him to the AmaKhosi faithful, who will be pleased he is back to add to their options up front, which also include Bafana Bafana internationals Bernard Parker, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Zimbabwe international Kingston Nkhatha, in addition to Kaizer Motaung Junior. Chiefs retained the Gauteng Cup following a 4-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at Loftus Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Willard Katsande, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Knowledge Musona and Kaizer Motaung Junior secured an emphatic victory for the AmaKhosi.
Orlando Pirates lost their ABSA Premiership title to Chiefs by finishing five points behind their bitter rivals, in third place. They did have some glory though by qualifying as one of the eight teams to compete in the group stages of the CAF Champions League. They returned to playing time in the competition last weekend by hosting AC Leopards of Congo, who they drew 0-0 with. Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa said he is a bit disappointed with the result against the Congolese side, however, said his Pirates players can only take positives out of that game. “We might be disappointed that we did not score, but we created a lot of chances that we should have converted. Bacela missed two chances and Oupa [Manyisa] missed two sitters. I would say sitters looking at the kind of player he is, but I think overall performance wasn’t bad,” said De Sa in a post-match press conference. De Sa explained his decision to keep Lennox Bacela on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes despite lack of experience in the CAF Champions League while Collins Mbesuma was on the bench. “Mbesuma is not in good shape. He only played 45 minutes in all the pre-season friendly games that we played. Bacela scored four or five goals in the last two pre-season games, that’s why he played the whole game.”
Besides adding striker Bacela from Bloemfontein Celtic, Pirates have also brought in star quality with the acquisition of Ghana international goalkeeper Fatau Dauda. The 28-year-old has made the position his own with the Black Stars, more so that his impressive form also earned a place in the squad that recently played in the 2013 African Cup of Nations here in South Africa. Pirates have also signed right-winger Joseph Molangoane, who joins from Platinum Stars. The exciting talent is fresh off a six-month loan spell at AmaZulu, and on his day can devastate defences with his trickery on the ball. While Tlou Segolela could be on his way out after failing to agree a new deal, wingers Aubrey Ngoma – who was on loan at University of Pretoria – and William Thwala from Chippa United have joined the Treble champions of two seasons ago.
VERDICT: Kaizer Chiefs 15/10
Whenever these teams meet the most likely result is the draw. They drew both league meetings last season. However, another draw for a third consecutive Black Label Cup match is not fancied and one of the teams should nip the win this time. Chiefs are favoured as they are coming off an excellent 4-1 win compared to Pirates who failed to score in their CAF Champions League match at home.