JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates have their strengths, but so do Kaizer Chiefs.
Both sets of coaches have conceded that it will be difficult to outsmart each other tactically – and if you consider just how many Soweto Derbies have ended in draws over the last few meetings, there is evidence of this.
But there are moments that can decide Saturday’s fixture, and here are just THREE of them…
His coach Micho Sredojevic last week insisted that if Pule had not been forced to withdraw from the Bafana Bafana squad to face Seychelles in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier earlier this month, the result at the Stade Linité would have been different.
Such is the confidence the Buccaneers tactician has on his star man, who scored the winning goal for the club on his return to action against Chippa United in the Telkom Knockout last weekend.
Bafana drew 0-0 in the Seychelles, three days after hammering the Islanders 6-0 in Johannesburg.
Pule will make his Soweto Derby debut having only joined Pirates at the start of the season from Bidvest Wits.
And he’s been a revelation, becoming a match winner for the Buccaneers, who are determined to win the championship in this campaign.
Castro and Nyatama fitness
As far as the Pirates camp is concerned, Leonardo Castro hasn’t even been in the country in the last couple of weeks since his ankle injury more than a month ago.
But of course that’s mind games.
What is a fact, however, is that the Chiefs striker has been training at Naturena this week with the hope that he would be ready to face their Soweto rivals tomorrow afternoon.
His late fitness test is a worry, but his availability will give Amakhosi the much-needed firepower upfront.
Pirates also have injury woes of their own to deal with.
Musa Nyatama, their reigning Player of the Season, picked up a knock against Chippa last weekend and has been racing against time to be fit.
Sredojevic sidestepped that question on Wednesday during a press conference, but a medical report from the club has confirmed that Nyatama, who helps the Buccaneers keep possession and has the ability to slow down the tempo of the game, will be assessed until the very last minute.
No doubt an important player for Amakhosi and will be targeted by Pirates tomorrow as he plays a crucial role in Chiefs’ attacking, as well as defensive, transition.
Rhulani Mokwena, the Bucs assistant coach, on Monday spent a considerable amount of time detailing why Katsande was such a threat and a key cog for Chiefs.
This only suggests that they will set up their stall with the Zimbabwean international in mind as they look for a repeat of that 3-1 victory at FNB Stadium seven months ago.