Kaizer Chiefs have not won a trophy in four years, while it’s been five for their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates. On Saturday afternoon, though, both teams will have the chance to come closer to ending that drought when they face off in Telkom Knockout quarter-finals. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN highlights five talking points ahead of the clash.
It was touted as the season of delivery for the Buccaneers, but things haven’t gone quite according to plan.
After a 2018-19 season where Pirates finished second, while also losing in the TKO final, the 2019-20 campaign was to be the season to finally win a trophy again. This script was dramatically flipped with the shock departure of head coach Milutin Sredojevic for Egypt.
Sreojevic’s assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has stepped up, but the team have struggled through the transition and their form has suffered significantly for it.
@KaizerChiefs vs @orlandopirates
Today, 02 November 2019
Moses Mabhida Stadium
SuperSport 4 & SABC 1
#SowetoDerby #Matchday #OnceAlways pic.twitter.com/xXrYmcxtyc
— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) November 2, 2019
Chiefs, on the other hand, came into the campaign as a laughing stock following a disastrous campaign last time out where they finished outside the top eight and suffered an embarrassing loss in the Nedbank Cup final against NFD side TS Galaxy.
They, however, have started the season in fine form with their new signings, along with a number of players returning from lengthy injuries, producing the goods as they currently top the Absa Premiership log under Ernst Middendorp’s guidance.
With a spot in the TKO semi-finals up for grabs, SoccerClub identifies the five main talking points ahead of the game.
Referees still stealing the headlines
For yet another week in South African football the headlines have been dominated by match officials after another horror referee showing in the Pirates vs Highlands Park game.
Mokwena believes the officials are crying out for help, while Middendorp has stayed clear of commenting.
ne thing is for sure: come Saturday, hopefully the headlines will be about the football and not the referees.
Chiefs frontline in red-hot form
Samir Nurkovic, Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro look to be developing a lethal forward-line partnership for Amakhosi.
The threat posed by the trio is not lost on Mokwena, who admitted to their danger in the buildup.
With Chiefs scoring freely at the moment, Pirates will be looking to shut out the three stars if they are to pick up a positive result on Saturday.
— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) October 31, 2019
Constant changes at Pirates add unpredictability
Mokwena has used a total of 24 players since stepping in as Pirates interim coach in August. The young coach has constantly changed his formations and lineups, making as much as six changes from game to game.
With Mokwena still searching for his best combination, it’s been hard to anticipate who will take the field. Middendorp and Chiefs will thus have a difficult task in planning for the matchup, which could add an extra dimension come kick-off.
The contrasting form of the two sides doesn’t seem to really matter heading into the Soweto derby.
The word from both camps is that the current form of either side means nothing and come Saturday it will come down to whoever wants it more.
For Pirates a win could kickstart their campaign whereas for Chiefs it will further reinforce the belief that they are on the right track.
Race to end trophy drought
Both sides are seemingly in a race to see who can get their hands on silverware first. The TKO is the next trophy up for grabs and a victory for either side on the weekend will take them a step closer to glory and double bragging rights over their rivals.
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