Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune said the Soweto derby is going back to its roots. The 36-year-old goalkeeper addressed the media on Thursday, ahead of the DStv Premiership clash against Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is at 3.30pm.
Khune started in goals for Chiefs on Wednesday night when the Amakhosi snapped a sequence of back-to-back Premiership defeats with a 3-1 victory over Cape Town Spurs at the same venue.
It also marked a personal triumph for Khune, having previously tasted seven defeats on the trot as a member of the starting side.
Over the past three seasons, the Soweto derbies had invariably ended in stalemates. Khune said the spate of draws had cast doubt in the minds of fans about the Soweto derby being a crowd-pleasing spectacle.
Bucking the trend
However, of late, that trend changed, and there was a string of outright wins.
In May last year, Orlando Pirates defeated Chiefs 2-1 in a Nedbank Cup clash.
In February this year, Chiefs ran out 1-0 winners in a Premiership match after a Pirates own goal. In October last year, Pirates won 1-0.
“There was a period when there were six draws in a row, but now there have been wins in the last few matches,” Khune recalled.
“It shows the Soweto derby is going back to its roots and producing winners on the day.
“On Saturday, we are looking for a positive result that will favour us and make the Khosi Nation proud. We know we have to dig deep and work hard.”
The Amakhosi have just emerged victorious from a game played behind closed doors, and Khune is delighted their ‘12th man’ will be in the stands at the iconic stadium.
‘Fans give us an extra push’
“It is great that the fans will be back because they give us an extra push. Yesterday (Wednesday), playing in front of empty stands made it feel like were on a training field playing a friendly.
“We knew we had to win the match, so that we could move up the log. It felt like we went back to Covid-19.
“The players, coming from different clubs, had to share their experiences of playing under those conditions.
“We knew that we needed a win, so that it could boost our confidence going into Saturday’s derby.”
Up to the last derby in May, Pirates had suffered five successive Soweto derby defeats, but the Buccaneers snapped that run in their Nedbank Cup semi-final clash that went into extra time.
Substitute Sandile Mthethwa, who had hardly featured for Pirates in the previous months, came up with a 114th-minute winner, thanks to an inspired change by Spanish tactician Jose Riveiro.