Five Soweto derby clashes that will live on in memory

Benni McCarthy scored a brace for Pirates in 2012. | EPA

Benni McCarthy scored a brace for Pirates in 2012. | EPA

Published Mar 6, 2024


The biggest fixture on the South African football calendar is set to draw numbers from all over the continent once again.

Although without relevant trophy permutations or success in the last decade, the Soweto derby clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates remains the marquee clash of every season.

The rivalry between the two teams has built and broken careers, divided families, and has left loyal followers of both Amakhosi and the Buccaneers with lasting memories.

Here, Smiso Msomi takes a look a five of the best Soweto derby clashes of the past.

Benni McCarthy scored a brace for Pirates in 2012. | EPA

March 17, 2012: In the league

With the two teams still serious contenders for the Absa Premiership at the time, this encounter tested the nerves of some of the best players in the country, with the likes of Oupa Manyisa and Andile Jali of Pirates looking to get one over former Bafana internationals Siphiwe Tshabalala and Reneilwe Letsholonyane in a sold-out affair.

However, It came as no surprise when the most decorated player in South African football history decided the encounter, as Benni McCarthy scored a first-half brace on either side of Jali’s tap-in.

The Sea Robbers walked away 3-2 winners on the day and went on to claim the league title that year.

Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona. | BackpagePix

December 4, 2010: In the Telkom KO final

In the era of the smiling assassin, Knowledge Musona, Kaizer Chiefs were irrepressible when it came to this clash and in 2010, the Zimbabwean-born attacker did not even get on the scoresheet but was immense.

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs had nightmares of Musona because three weeks after he had dismantled the Buccaneers in the league with a 3-1 scoreline, he helped Sthembiso Ngcobo and Co inflict another 3-0 defeat over Pirates in the Telkom KO final.

Jerry Sikhosana owned the Soweto Derby in 1996. | BackpagePix

November 2, 1996: In the BobSave Super Bowl semi-final

Famously known as the Jerry Sikhosana derby decades later, the BobSave Super Bowl semi-final match between these two remains one of the most memorable. Sikhosana not only terrorised Brian Baloyi in the Amakhosi goals but he also became the last player to score a hat-trick in this huge match as he helped Pirates to a 3-1 win.

Gabadinho Mhango now plies his trade for Moroka Swallows. | BackpagePix

November 2, 2019: In the Telkom KO quarter-final

Following years of low-scoring, disappointing games, 2019 was the year the derby would burst into flames once again, and it is no coincidence that both teams were vying for league honours that season. Hoping to end their trophy drought, Chiefs triumphed in the penalty shoot-out after the game had ended 2-2.

Daniel Cardoso, who now plays for Sekhukhune United, had the final say in the 2019 edition of the Soweto derby. | BackpagePix

November 9, 2019: In the league

Seven days after producing the goods in a knockout encounter, the two teams entertained their supporters with another five-goal thriller in the league. After going two goals down in the opening 28 minutes, Pirates fought back to level matters through two wonder strikes by Vincent Pule and Gabadinho Mango.

However, a late Daniel Cardoso penalty settled matters for Chiefs, although both teams were pipped to the title by Mamelodi Sundowns that season.