Battle lines drawn for Soweto Derby
Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are looking for a huge boost before the build-up to the Christmas break when they lock horns in an Absa Premiership Soweto Derby showdown at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday at 3.30pm.
Both teams are eager to end their trophy drought and a victory for either would be a huge confidence booster.
Pirates occupy second spot on the log standings with 16 points from 10 matches.
Chiefs sit three points off top spot, and victory this weekend will move them above their fiercest rivals.
Pirates head into the match on a six-game unbeaten streak in the league, though their 1-1 stalemate away to AmaZulu on October 6 means they have drawn three of their last four league matches.
The Buccaneers have picked up just six points from five home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a goalless draw with Golden Arrows early in October.
Chiefs saw their strong run in the league (seven games unbeaten and 10 points from the last 12 available) brought to an end when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Polokwane City in Durban earlier in October.
The Amakhosi are unbeaten away from home this season (two wins and four draws from six matches), with their last result on the road a goalless draw at Highlands Park early this month.
Last season Pirates took four points off Chiefs, with the teams drawing 0-0 in the first half of the campaign, before the Buccaneers claimed a 3-1 win in the return game.
The team in black and white are unbeaten in their last seven league matches against their Soweto derby rivals.
Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele said it was important to focus on their strengths.
“We don’t want to buy the talk that Chiefs are the underdogs simply because of our previous league results against them.
“The guys are motivated and you can’t motivate them more when they are going to play in the derby,” he added.
Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune is looking forward to a special encounter.
“The supporters will come to rally behind the team, so all we have to do is put a smile on their faces.”