Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are set to do battle in the Absa Premiership and SoccerClub senior writer MARSHALL GOUTS has picked out five reasons why the Amakhosi will be victorious in the Soweto derby.
1) Recent Soweto derby record
Few fans will forget Pirates’ 3-1 defeat of Chiefs in the Soweto derby last season where wing Luvuyo Memela tore apart the Chiefs defence by netting a brace.
Not only will Amakhosi have the loss constantly playing on their minds, but with their last victory over Pirates having come in 2014, the Naturena-based outfit will be eager to get a taste of victory over their arch-rivals not only to appease the fans, but also to help to them in their bid to end their trophy drought and be crowned league champions.
Chiefs occupy third spot on the table, while Pirates are in second.
2) Giovanni Solinas’ debut
The last time Chiefs beat Pirates in the derby was under the helm of former coach Stuart Baxter. New coach Solinas will be all too mindful of what a Soweto derby victory will mean for the longevity of his Chiefs career – more so given that it is his debut.
The former Free State Stars coach should be mindful of former coach Steve Komphela’s reign. Barring his obvious lack of success at the club, Komphela failed to garner victory in any of his clashes against Pirates, which certainly did not help his cause.
A draw or a victory will be the only acceptable result for the Italian mentor, regardless of his injury woes and all.
If Solinas does garner victory against Pirates with a ‘weakened squad’, it will go a long way in cementing his spot in the hearts of the Amakhosi fans.
3) Mind games
Former Mamelodi Sundowns and current Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena got the ball rolling as far as mind games go heading into the Soweto derby.
His comments could be construed as a tactic to deflect pressure off their own camp, revealing that Pirates could have snapped up Billiat prior to his move to Chiefs, but the former Silver Stars assistant personally attacked Solinas.
Mokwena, who served as second-in-command to former Chiefs coach Komphela during their days with Platinum Stars, said that Chiefs are worse off under the new coach than they were under Komphela, who was at the helm for three seasons without bearing any fruit.
Solinas adopted the sensible approach in his press conference, refusing to raise eyebrows as Mokwena did and that could stand him in good stead should he prove victorious.
4) Billiat, Castro, Zuma
Who can forget Sundowns’ deadly attacking trio, nicknamed CBD, which consisted of Leonardo Castro, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly?
In Castro, Billiat and Dumisani Zuma, Chiefs have CBZ: an alternatively excellent attacking trio that has been directly responsible for eight of the 13 goals that Chiefs have scored in the league.
If Chiefs are to emerge as victors, they will require their red-hot attacking trio to fire on all cylinders.
5) Recent form
Solinas’ side were arguably lucky to secure victory in their last encounter, with Namibian goalkeeper Virgil Vries saving two penalties to ensure that they booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout Cup.
Prior to the clash against Black Leopards, Chiefs registered their second loss of the season after succumbing to a 1-0 loss to Polokwane City behind closed doors.
Take it back a game before the loss to Rise and Shine, and you will have noticed that Chiefs played to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Highlands Park.
Point is, Chiefs have been far from convincing of late and fans, Pirates and Solinas will be all too aware of that. It should result in the latter wanting to iron out any creases in a bid to avoid defeat in the Soweto derby.