DURBAN – Muhsin Ertugral knows all about the stress that comes with the Soweto derby having coached both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Turk had two stints with Amakhosi and one with the Buccaneers. The two giants will clash in a battle for maximum points at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Ertugral believes that Pirates need points more than Chiefs at this stage of the season.
“The title race is between Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and Pirates. If Pirates win on Saturday, it will help them in their quest for the title, but if they lose it will be a huge setback. They need to win this game to enhance their chances of winning the league,” Ertugral said yesterday.
Pirates are five points behind log leaders, Wits. The Clever Boys have collected 37 points in 19 PSL matches, while the Buccaneers have amassed 32 points after 18 games.
“It won’t be easy for Pirates. They did well against Chiefs last year. Chiefs will be under pressure to make sure that they don’t lose again. Their fans want to see a positive result. Whoever makes the right decisions on the day will win the game.
Both sides are under pressure in different ways. Mental aspects will be key. You need confidence going into such games,” Ertugral said.
Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp is likely to hand a debut to goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi who joined the club from Chippa United last week. Regular No 1 Itumeleng Khune is out for the rest of the season, while Virgil Vries has committed several errors for Amakhosi in his absence. He has gifted opposition teams three points on two occasions.
“Itumeleng Khune is a big loss for Kaizer Chiefs. He is their trump card. His presence makes a huge difference in such games, but if Ernst decides to hand him (Akpeyi) a debut, he should use this as an opportunity to show his skills.
There’s no better way to advertise yourself by doing well in the derby. He is an experienced goalkeeper and should be well motivated,” Ertugral said.
Pirates are favourites heading into what promises to be a mouth-watering game of football.
They haven’t lost to Chiefs in five years in the league. You have to go back to 2014 for Amakhosi’s last victory against their bitter rivals.
Last season they succumbed to three derby defeats, while Pirates are unbeaten in their last 14 league games. Their last defeat was against Bloemfontein Celtic in August.
“Ernst is still trying to find his feet and instil his philosophy. Pirates are well settled, but both teams are in need of a trophy and they have very demanding fans. Pirates have an opportunity to do (it) in the league while Chiefs can do it via the Nedbank Cup, but they need to win such matches to boost their confidence.
No one will go for broke in this game. You can’t risk losing. Maybe in the last few minutes but it is going to be a very interesting game,” Ertugral said.@Minenhlecr7