Conquest of Chiefs must continue – Vladimir Vermezovic

2014-03-13 16:24

“Is that so? Oh, the tradition must go on,” said Orlando Pirates’ new coach, Vladimir Vermezovic, after learning that Amakhosi had not won a derby since he left the club in April 2012.

Pirates hosts Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday and the Category A Absa Premiership fixture will be just the second match for the Serbian-born coach after he reintroduced himself to the local game with a 1-0 win over Moroka Swallows last night.

“It’s much easier to prepare my team as the advantage is that I know them [Chiefs],” said Vermezovic during the Soweto derby conference in Midrand today.

His counterpart at Chiefs, Stuart Baxter, said: “Coaches don’t have to lift players for the derby – maybe it’s the other way round – to calm them down. We hope to make a difference in our favour in this one.”

Chiefs lost 2-0 to Platinum Stars last night but they are still on top of the table (on 43 points) with six points separating them from second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Buccaneers are placed fourth on 33 points but still have a game in hand.

Said Vermezovic: “We can get closer to them [Chiefs] but unfortunately we’ll be doing favours to the other clubs.”

He was referring to Pirates’ slim chances of winning the league. But he was still optimistic about the chances of an upset in the race for the title.

“Pirates were 11 points ahead in 2004/05 but lost the title. Maybe history might repeat itself [in favour of Pirates] this time.”

While he revealed that defender Rooi Mahamutsa was 100% fit and there were chances of comebacks by Siyabonga Sangweni and Patrick Phungwayo, Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune remains out with an ankle injury.

Chiefs and Pirates drew the first-round match 1-1 in October last year.

» Read City Press on Sunday for more on the Soweto derby.

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