JOHANNESBURG - The Soweto Derby this weekend will thrill, get you to spill your beverage and have you contemplating eating that famous cabbage by the end of the 90 minutes. I am not trying to hype up Saturday’s fixture between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium - it was pronounced a sold out affair a week ago already.
The 3-1 victory for Pirates in March is something that doesn’t come up too often. We have all lost count of the number of goalless draws these two sides have played out after all the work done by broadcasters, the press and fans to get it trending across any platform.
This time I believe it will be worth every penny. The jury might still be out on Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas - more so now that Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has claimed that he lacks the “tactical acumen” that was possessed by his predecessor Steve Komphela. And while this will trigger robust debates between the two sets of supporters, you can bank on Solinas taking the game to the Buccaneers.
The Italian doesn’t have a defensive bone in his body. I can’t imagine the Glamour Boys setting up their stalls to try and catch their opponent on the counter, parking the bus or waiting for a last-gasp smash and grab goal. We’ve not known him for long as Amakhosi coach, but Solinas hasn’t given us any hint that his is a defensive approach.
Instead he has been heavily criticised for leaving holes at the back, chopping and changing a winning team and paying too much attention on his side’s attack rather than protecting a lead or working tirelessly on the rearguard.
But can you blame him? Chiefs have Khama Billiat, Lebo Manyama, Leonardo Castro, Dumisani Zuma and, although ageing, Bernard Parker’s experience. Any coach who has his head screwed on right will try to take advantage of such a heavy artillery.
Sure, Chiefs might concede an embarrassing number of goals because of the emphasis on an attacking transition, but there are games in which it pays dividends - like the 4-1 thumping of Cape Town City last month.
Considering what Mokwena has said about the Chiefs coach this week, it would be surprising if Pirates show them too much respect with their own style. I am convinced this is a Soweto Derby that will thrill. Enjoy, take pictures and make bold predictions, because these are very rare.
* amaBhakaniya namaKhosi are back! Back on form, back to take the top spot, back for another #AbsaPrem Soweto Derby. Bring your Voice at FNB Stadium, 27 October, 15:30.