DURBAN – Multiple league title winner Gordon Igesund has challenged Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates to treat South Africans to a goal-fest when they lock horns in the Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Amakhosi host Pirates in the first official derby of the season, having eased pressure on their hitherto beleaguered coach Steve Komphela with a win at Sundowns.
Igesund, who won the league title with Pirates in the 2000/01 season, is of the view that the two clubs owe the football fraternity a spectacle.
Over the last few years, the two clubs have been heavily criticised for lacking spark and merely playing the derby with the intent of avoiding defeat.
“I don’t agree that the standard of the derby has dropped. It is still a huge game around the globe,” Igesund said.
“There’s one thing, though, that football fans want to see, it is goals. We all want to see goals. We want to see the game end in a 4-3 or 3-2 scoreline.”
While he understands the pressure that is on the coaches of the two clubs for this match, Igesund urged the men in charge to go for broke.
“The coaches must not be scared to lose their jobs,” he said. “But the players must also come to the party. They sometimes make a lot of mistakes because they are scared. They need to relax.”
The last six Soweto derbies have produced a mere 10 goals. The last high-scoring game was back in December two years ago, when Pirates triumphed 3-1.
Thereafter, the derby produced two draws, which led to the fans mockingly terming the match a ‘drawby’.
Igesund believes the key to success will rest on dictating terms early on.
“I think the team that will adapt quicker will go on to win. What is nice about the derby is the fact that the form doesn’t count at all. It is all about who wants it more on the day. And I think Chiefs need points more than Pirates.”
Amakhosi will go into the tie oozing confidence following Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns.
But Komphela is still searching for his Soweto Derby victory in the league, having drawn all four previous encounters.
Add to that the fact that victory on Saturday will keep those fans who had been baying for his blood silent for a while – until they remember he is yet to win their club a “real” trophy – and Komphela has good reason to deliver a team talk of epic proportions.
Meanwhile, Muhsin Ertugral is of the view that both Soweto giants are dropping their standards.
The former Kaizer Chiefs coach – who had a short-lived spell with Pirates before spectacularly quitting on television immediately after a 6-1 hammering by SuperSport United – believes it is imperative that his former clubs play at the highest level.
He said the fact that Bafana Bafana lost to lowly Cape Verde was indicative of the fact that something was amiss with the local game.
“The standard of football in South Africa has dropped gradually. That (defeat to Cape Verde) didn’t happen during the times of Doctor Khumalo and others. Back then, the national team qualified for major tournaments easily.
“One of the reasons that has contributed to the decline of SA football is the fact that the youth development structures are neglected. This has also impacted on the standard of the Soweto Derby.
“The fans are still passionate, but the football has dropped. The two teams need to up the standard so that South Africa can get back to where it was before.”