Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates | Saturday 20 September | Moses Mabhida Stadium | 20:15
The Soweto Derby makes up the MTN8 final, which will take place on Sunday at the majestic Moses Mabhida Stadium. The two Soweto giants have been enjoying great form so far in the 2014/15 season, which makes this an eagerly anticipated match, evident in the ticket sales when all 50 000 tickets were sold out in a matter of four hours. This is the second time in three years that the MTN8 title will be contested between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, and they meet for the third year running in the tournament after last year’s semi-final, which the Buccaneers won 2-1 on aggregate. Pirates won that final two years back with an extra-time goal from Oupa Manyisa.
To Win (90mins)
Kaizer Chiefs 16/10
Orlando Pirates 17/10
Kaizer Chiefs secured a spot in the final of the MTN8 after they beat Platinum Stars 5-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals. The Amakhosi managed to beat Dikwena 2-0 in Rustenburg in the first leg, and then went to Johannesburg for the second leg, beating Platinum Stars 3-0 with goals from George Maluleka, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Katlego Mphela. Letsholonyane continued his excellent scoring form when Chiefs beat University of Pretoria 2-1 in the league this past weekend. It was Chief’s sixth win from six league games as ‘Yeye’ bagged a brace for AmaKhosi. Despite a number of changes to the side, Kaizer Chiefs showed confidence from the start as they passed the ball around with Willard Katsande and Letsholonyane controlling proceedings in the midfield early on. ‘Yeye’ tops the Absa Premiership scoring charts with four goals – level with Moroka Swallows’ Lerato Chabangu.
Along with Letsholonyane, George Maluleka and Mandla Masango have been key to Chiefs’ excellent form so far. Without three of their star players from last season – Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Knowledge Musona – Amakhosi have managed to put smiles on the faces of their supporters, who may have even forgotten about their missing stars now that the likes of Maluleka and Masango are showing that they too deserve to play regularly in the starting line-up. The duo have raised their game from last season and make Chiefs a formidable force providing enough ammunition to scare any defence. Chiefs’ backline have been just as impressive as their midfield. The sight of Erick Mathoho, Tefu Mashamaite, Siboniso Gaxa and Tsepo Masilela has been a thorn for many of their opposition thus far with Chiefs conceding just two goals from ten matches this campaign (six league, three MTN8 and one Black Label Cup). With Bernard Parker having returned from injury, he or Kingston Nkatha should lead the line with Katlego Mphela a certainty to start from the bench. A major blow for Chiefs is that they will be missing captain Itumeleng Khune who is out injured. Many may argue that a missing goalkeeper shouldn’t affect a team too much. However, Khune is the country’s best and is a motivator for his teammates. Brilliant Khuzwayo looks to be favoured in the sticks ahead of youngster Reyaad Pieterse who deputised for Khune last season.
Orlando Pirates are looking to break more records by lifting their tenth Top 8 trophy since 1972. The Buccaneers have made history already by reaching a fifth straight MTN8 final. Pirates will be aiming to regain the title after losing 3-1 in a penalty shootout to Platinum Stars following a 1-1 stalemate at the same venue last year. Pirates also demolished their semi-final opponents, beating BidVest Wits 5-1 on aggregate over two legs to book a spot in the final. Wits were again their opponents last weekend, this time in the league, with Pirates coming away 1-0 victors courtesy of a deflected own goal by Rowen Fernandez after Siyabonga Sangweni fired a shot from outside the box that hit the bar then Fernandez to go in. After a slow start, Pirates have now hit top gear and have won their last four matches, scoring three times in three of those fixtures. Orlando Pirates’ strike force have impressed this season with Kermit Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Majoro firing at any given chance. Erasmus has started ahead of Majoro and has scored four goals in his last four matches for Pirates, and looks poised to continue causing damage this season. Oupa Manyisa has maintained his form from last season, being the driving force of the Pirates midfield and has also been hitting the back of the net on a regular basis. He was a standout performer in both South Africa’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and will be determined to win the cup for Pirates just as he did two years back.
VERDICT: Orlando Pirates 17/10
The form book is always thrown out the window when these two fierce rivals meet. The most common result in recent head-to-heads has been the draw as was the case two months back in the Carling Black Label Cup. However, with both teams in such fine form there is likely to be a clear winner this time and Pirates are tipped to continue their excellent cup form as well as their dominance over Chiefs in the MTN8.