100th clash of Soweto giants marks battle of the egos

Johannesburg – The 100th Soweto derby fever has gripped Mzansi.

Of the previous 99 matches, 49 were played as Premiership games since the inaugural 1996/97 PSL season, and the rest as cup games.

Kaizer Chiefs have tasted victory 13 times, Orlando Pirates have had 12 triumphs and 24 matches were draws.

The last showdown of the 2020/21 PSL season takes place at FNB Stadium when Soweto giants and rivals Chiefs clash with Pirates in a match in which Amakhosi are determined to pull off an upset.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

The Buccaneers have not lost to the Glamour Boys this season, a fact making this encounter and the dare att itude of the hosts rather interesting.

As to how Chiefs plan to upset the applecart remains to be seen, as in their past ties in the current campaign the boys from Phefeni have been outclassed in every facet by the lads from Orlando.

In the last derby match at Orlando Stadium, Chiefs missed a penalty by dependable striker Samir Nurkovic when they suffered a 2-1 defeat in a game coach Gavin Hunt believed they should have won. Nurkovic, who was injured, is back and believes this could be his day.

“It was a difficult time for me during the start of the season; I missed a lot of games and when I came back, I didn’t go through the pre-season, but I had to go straight into the game,” said Nurkovic.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 12: Deon Hotto of Orlando Pirates tackled by Lucky Baloyi of Bloemfontein Celtic during the MTN8 final match between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Samuel Shivambu/BackPagePix/Gallo Images)

“I am working hard and hopefully Sunday [today] will be my day. I am happy that I am fi nally back and helping the team. I am not frustrated but I have to continue working hard.”

The last derby loss was Amakhosi’s third defeat in a row and Hunt’s third in all meetings with the Sea Robbers, having lost both home and away legs of the MTN8 Wafa Wafa semi-fials 3-0 and 2-0, respectively, a 5-0 aggregate humiliation, in November last year.

However, there is an air of confidence in the Chiefs’ camp despite Hunt emphasising that he was a disappointed man for losing thrice to Pirates.

“I don’t think I’ve lost to Pirates three times in my life. So it’s disappointing‚ but we’ve got to look forward and we’ve got to correct these mistakes and just do better,” said Hunt.

“They’ve invested heavily into the squad and it’s made them stronger‚ that’s for sure, they’ve got a lot of options in their team‚ if you look across their squad.”

The options Hunt is alluding to could be Pirates’ strength going forward as most of the Bucs strikers are back from injury, including Gabadinho Mhango and Tshegofatso Mabasa.

Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer has the liberty to keep Mhango and Mabasa on the bench and start with the on-form trio of Deon Hott o‚ Vincent Pule and Linda Mntambo upfront.

Chiefs will be without fi ve of their key players – Khama Billiat, Lebogang Manyama, Leonardo Castro, Dumisani Zuma and Itumeleng Khune – who are injured.

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