Wedson Nyirenda will be keen to be on the winning side of the derby. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
As in any other derby, the bragging rights will be up for grabs when Baroka FC go head-to-head with neighbours Polokwane City in a PSL clash at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium today (3.30pm).

City will be hoping to collect as many points as possible as they look to consolidate their top-eight spot.

On the other hand, three points for Baroka will be invaluable as they look to distance themselves from the relegation quagmire, as they are now only four points clear of the bottom club Maritzburg United.

It will be important that Baroka hit top gear from onset, especially since they are also looking to avenge the misfortunes of the first derby where they lost 2-0 in coach Wedson Nyirenda’s first real task in charge.

Since then, Niyrenda’s exploits have been nothing short of admirable as he’s led the team to the maiden silverware, the Telkom Knockout competition.

With nine games to go, the former Zambia coach doesn’t have enough time to start chopping and changing his team but instead, he’s got to field his biggest guns.

In midweek, the side had an impressive win at SuperSport United, and captain Mduduzi Mdantsane rose to the occasion. Players such as Jemondre Dickens, Tebogo Sodi and Thato Madigoe have shown they can get the much-needed goals, but will need to put their scoring boots back on. However,

City have shown that they are missing 'frozen out' striker Rodney Ramagalela, but after snatching points from Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs in their last two matches, they are oozing confidence heading into this encounter. However, strikers Walter Musona and Mohammed Anas need to start being ruthless upfront if they are to consolidate a top-eight finish - especially with Ramagalela only likely to return to action next season in the colours of Highlands Park, the club he’s signed a pre-contract with.

Meanwhile, Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane is not kind to visitors, and that’s what Chippa United coach Clinton Larsen will be banking on to give them an upper hand when they welcome SuperSport United this afternoon. The Chilli Boys have made it difficult for PSL teams in Mdantsane, and the 30 000-seater is becoming a fortress for Eastern Cape clubs.

The Chilli Boys will need that support today as they continue to battle their way out of the relegation dogfight - Chippa are placed 14th in the standings, three points clear of, bottom club Maritzburg - who are growing confident of escaping the axe following a 2-1 victory over neighbours AmaZulu in the KZN derby on Friday.

However, that shouldn’t worry Larsen much considering that after all, he’s yet to be defeated at home in four matches - since taking over the helm from Joel Masutha, who also joined the long list of the club’s casualties this season that includes Heric Vladislav, Dan Malesela and Eric Tinkler.

Sure, the Chilli Boys are enduring pain at the loss of prolific striker Rhulani Manzini to an injury but its’s time for seasoned campaigners such as Mark Mayambela, Daine Klate and Ruzaigh Galmidien to show that they can turn on the heat at home.

Furthermore, Larsen’s troops will wear the favourites’ cap following their previous home encounter where they came from behind to salvage a draw against Golden Arrows.

On the other hand, SuperSport were recently forced to eat humble pie at home by Baroka FC.

Larsen should be mindful of complacency as well, as United like to turn up the heat when they are away from home. On the road, they’ve recently won back-to-back matches against Bloemfontein Celtic and Arrows. Moreover, Teboho Mokowena, who scored the winners in those matches, will be hoping to add to his impressive tally away from home. And, SuperSport are aware of what is required in championship time, as they have won three back-to-back league titles in the past. Moreover, a finish in the second/third place will be welcomed as far as continental football is concern.

@MihlaliBaleka 


Sunday Independent 

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