DURBAN – The much-anticipated Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is almost here. It is a sold-out affair at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
The two Soweto giants will be battling for a place in the Telkom Knockout final at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on December 8, where they will face either defending champions, Wits, or Baroka FC.
They are both on the same mission: they want to end their four-year trophy drought.
Former Chiefs and Pirates midfielder Stanton “Stiga” Fredericks believes that the Buccaneers are favourites to beat Amakhosi on Saturday.
“The game is important for both teams. I think Pirates are in better shape at the moment. They will go there with all the confidence, especially after winning the last encounter which wasn’t too long ago. It is an opportunity for Kaizer Chiefs to bounce back. It is a Cup match, it is derby day and anything can happen,” Fredericks said.
Pirates are on a roll at the moment. They are playing with finesse, fluidity and zeal. The Buccaneers haven’t tasted defeat in their last 10 matches across all competitions. They are also unbeaten against Amakhosi for three years.
“If you ask me now, the scale falls in favour of Pirates. If you look at consistency, quality and going forward they are a very attacking team. They are a dangerous side. On the other hand, Chiefs have their defensive frailties which were obviously exposed in the last derby. Hopeful, this is an opportunity for them to bounce back,” Fredericks added.
Pirates won that derby in the PSL at the FNB Stadium 2-1 last month, but they will be aware that it won’t be easy to replicate that kind of performance.
The two teams have met twice at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and on both occasions it was Chiefs who triumphed.
Amakhosi dispatched the Bucs 3-0 on penalties after a 0-0 stalemate following 120 minutes of play in the 2010 Telkom Knockout semi-finals.
In 2015, they also locked horns in the final of the MTN8. Tefu Mashamaite headed in the winner in a 1-0 victory for Chiefs.
“It is a going to be a good game because of the attacking strength of both teams. (Khama) Billiat is looking fitter and (Leonardo) Castro is also in good shape. It will be an exciting encounter like the last one. I’m sure we will see goals,” Fredericks said.
Chiefs will be hoping to march to another final and claim their 14th Telkom Knockout crown.@Minenhlecr7