Soweto derby ‘must entertain’

Fans want to see goals scored, says Chiefs coach

THERE is a responsibility for the two teams in a Soweto derby to try to play entertaining football, Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela said ahead of tomorrow’s Absa Premiership meeting against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium. PICTURE: GALLO IMAGES
THERE is a responsibility for the two teams in a Soweto derby to try to play entertaining football, Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela said ahead of tomorrow’s Absa Premiership meeting against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium. PICTURE: GALLO IMAGES

THERE is a responsibility for the two teams in a Soweto derby to try to play entertaining football, Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela said ahead of tomorrow’s Absa Premiership meeting against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium.

In a refreshing departure from the “win at all costs” approach to derbies, Komphela acknowledged that Chiefs and Pirates have a responsibility to try to serve up attractive football.

“If you ask me as a person, which I cannot divorce from being coach of Kaizer Chiefs, we must provide excitement. And the headline tomorrow should not read: ‘Steve Komphela promises sparks’,” the Amakhosi coach said yesterday.

“I’ve got to be very careful how I choose my words. But the fact remains – people travel from the coast or wherever, and they want to watch football.

“And football is when goals are scored. We would want to go to that level. Unfortunately we can only coach players – at the end of the day it’s about them executing.

“I chatted to [Chiefs left-back] Tsepo Masilela two days ago, and he said he does not understand how most of the time the first half is okay in a derby, the second half not. Or the other way around.

“He said it’s important to be consistent. It has to be brilliant performances throughout – that’s what we want to give.”

Chiefs have lost just one match all season, albeit an important one – the MTN8 final 1-0 defeat to Ajax Cape Town last month. Their fourth position in the PSL is down to one of two teams still unbeaten having drawn five matches from eight.

Pirates, through to the Telkom Knockout semifinals and CAF Confederation Cup final, have been in increasingly woeful league form.

The past two weeks have seen them lose twice at home, 1-0 against nine-man Bidvest Wits then 2-0 to Lamontville Golden Arrows on Wednesday night.

Komphela is preparing to face a “wounded tiger” and shied away from any sort of favourites tag.

“Favourites have a problem because underdogs can kick butt sometimes,” the Amakhosi coach said.

“But when you look at how things have been, we have been able to dictate and determine our fate. They have been through some shockwaves. We hope shockwaves come again on Saturday.”

Pirates coach Eric Tinkler is steeling himself and his side for a torrid run of tough fixtures, against Chiefs, Ajax Cape Town away on Wednesday, Amakhosi again at FNB in the Telkom semis, then the two-legged Confed final against Tunisians Etoil du Sahel on November 21 and 29.

“We have to get back to winning ways going into those games,” Tinkler said.

“This [the Soweto derby] is a massive game for us. Not only the fact that it’s the derby, but it’s very important for us right now.”

Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba believes Bucs’ form in the league has become a mental thing.

“A lot of players right now are just going through the motions. Only a few guys can say they are in the game . . . So we have to get our minds right.”

Chiefs striker Camaldine Abraw found his scoring boots last week, with his first two goals for his new club in a 2-1 away Telkom quarterfinal win against Black Aces, then a 1-0 home league victory against the same team on Wednesday.

-Marc Strydom

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