Match to decide league glory

2011-02-19 19:31

More than a week before this much-anticipated second round Absa Premiership fixture between arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, South Africans are already divided over which of the two Soweto powerhouses will walk away victorious at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

So much is at stake as the three points may well determine the passage the winner takes to the top of the log. The destiny of the leadership race hinges on the one team beating the other for there to be a clear frontrunner.

Interestingly, supporters have been raving so much about this game that today’s fixtures are deemed secondary.

But both have a small hurdle to negotiate this afternoon with Chiefs travelling to Cape Town to face Santos. Santos inflicted Chiefs’ first loss of the season when Sekou Camara scored a lone goal in November.

Pirates welcome AmaZulu at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates have not lost a league game since their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Chiefs in November.

Supporters have been at each others’ throats lately, hoping that one side would fall.

Chiefs supporters have been rooting for any side that plays against Pirates, and the Ghosts’ faithful have been doing the same against Chiefs.

» R10 million at stake

Since the league prize money increased to R10 million, neither Chiefs nor Pirates have laid their hands on the loot, with SuperSport having pocketed R30 million in the three seasons they have won the title.

When Chiefs won it the last time, they walked away with a measly R4 million.

» Bafana goalkeepers

Both sides boast excellent goalkeepers in Itumeleng Khune and Moeneeb Josephs, who are also fighting for the Number 1 spot in the national side. Khune has the edge because of his well-timed and accurate distribution.

» The midfield battle

Another intriguing battle is expected between Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Andile Jali.

While Chiefs’ Letsholonyane won the fight in their last meeting, Jali has grown in stature lately and is certainly going to match his counterpart.

» The goals Kaizer

Motaung Jnr has managed to silence the growing Chiefs booing brigade by scoring mportant goals, and notching up five strikes.

His brace against Platinum Stars last weekend kept Amakhosi in the race.

After spending much time on the sidelines, Katlego Mashego has proved to be the real deal in the Pirates strikeforce. He scored against Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.

» Tactical prowess

Pirates coach Rudi Krol was accused of being predictable with his starting line-up, hence teams were able to plan for his side, but he has now changed his tactics, and his line-up.

Perhaps the injury to Daine Klate and the unavailability of match winner Tlou Segolela will force him to rethink his tactics as he can no longer rely on wing play for this one.

Chiefs’ mentor Vladimir Vermezovic twice surprised Krol with his tactics but the Dutchman has surely learnt one or two things from previous meetings.

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