Pundits pick the Bucs

2010-11-13 00:00

THE pundits have picked Orlando Pirates to win today’s Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium, but it is the unpredictable nature of this giant clash that makes it so hard to predict a winner.

The Buccaneers have certainly hit a rich vein of form. Their back-to-back 3-0 Premier Soccer League victories against Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United capped their crowning as MTN8 champions last month.

Both Chiefs and Pirates saw a dip in form in midweek that probably had plenty to do with the derby looming at the weekend. Chiefs lost 1-0 to Santos at the Rand Stadium and Pirates had to settle for a goalless draw against out-of-form AmaZulu in Durban.

While Bucs were on a rampage before their draw in midweek, Chiefs too have been in good form and playing attractive football under Serbian coach Vladimir Vermezovic.

Both Soweto giants’ performances this season have lifted the PSL. A derby that hit a low last season with two dull, goalless draws is again the highlight of the South African domestic calendar.

Already this season there have been three meetings between the rivals.

In the pre-season Telkom Charity Cup Chiefs beat Pirates 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 finish. In the MTN8 Bucs beat Amakhosi 2-1 on aggregate over two legs in the semi-finals (1-1 first leg, 1-0 second).

Pirates shading Chiefs in the Telkom semis, along with their current form, is the reason Bucs are being tipped to win today.

The Buccaneers’ spending spree at the start of the season is partly the reason for their form under Ruud Krol. In contrast Chiefs, while on form, have an apparent fragility that stems from a slight lack of depth outside an excellent first team.

Bucs goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, who had an injury scare this week but still played against AmaZulu, said Chiefs’ defeat against Santos means little in the context of the derby.

“Their loss to Santos has nothing to do with Saturday’s game, absolutely nothing. Saturday’s game is a game on its own and this is the Soweto Derby — whatever previous result doesn’t matter now,” the keeper said.

“I think what makes it more exciting is that the two teams are on form and full of confidence. This time there will be no 0-0 — we know there will be goals.

“No disrespect to AmaZulu but we never took our chances. We weren’t sharp enough, but we’re wide awake for the derby.”

Chiefs have not won a league match against Pirates in two years, which Vermezovic said adds to Amakhosi’s motivation for today’s game. “Recently we have improved our records against teams who we had not defeated in a while and I think it is time that we change our record against Pirates as well.”

If there is one player who could produce a moment of magic or lethal finish that might earn Chiefs victory it is striker Knowledge Musona. The Zimbabwean said he will treat the derby as if it were any other match.

“I am not really concerned with anything other than going onto the field and playing how I usually play, with the same passion and emotion,” Musona said. “It is going to be a great occasion in front of a packed stadium.”

Chiefs will be without suspended central defensive stalwart Valery Nayaho, with Thomas Sweswe sure to replace the Burundian next to Dominic Isaacs.

For Pirates, Daine Klate has been their most influential new signing in left midfield. Defender and captain Lucky Lekgwathi has twice been on the end of Klate’s crosses to score goals from set pieces.

 

On TV

Today: Kick-off 3 pm – live on SABC1, SuperSport 4 and SuperSport HD

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