Soweto Derby is one event you dare not miss

2018-03-01 06:00
Soweto will collide at the Soccer City cauldron when Chiefs and Pirates duel for PSL supremacy on Saturday.

Soweto will collide at the Soccer City cauldron when Chiefs and Pirates duel for PSL supremacy on Saturday.

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The Soweto derby used to be the showcase game for South African football, pitting the nations’ most popular teams in a clash of the best players of the domestic game.

These days Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates might still enjoy the most supporters but have long had their prominent status in the game superseded by richer clubs, like Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United.

But the derby is still the biggest game of the year, guaranteed to be a sell-out and only capable of being played at Soccer City because it is the one stadium big enough.

But the match itself is no longer the excitable, all-action contest it used to be. Now, such is the pressure to succeed, the first concern of the coaches is to avoid defeat. The spectators attend now not for the football but more for the social gathering. It is a ‘must-been-seen-at’ ticket although the football of late has been nothing near ‘must see’.

For Saturday’s latest instalment, the two rivals coaches – Steve Komphela and Milutin Sredojevich – are predicting a change to the dull, largely goalless and drawn encounters of late.

The theory is obvious – both Chiefs and Pirates sit just behind Sundowns in the race for this year’s title and have to play to win on Saturday. Pirates got a confidence building 4-2 win in Port Elizabeth on Sunday but Chiefs dropped points at home to Bloemfontein Celtic the day before.

But there is little between the two sides and TAB Soccer punters will likely go with their hearts on this one. The odds on a draw are probably strongest.

While the focus is on the derby, Sundowns are away at AmaZulu on Friday and fancied to increase the four-point advantage they have at the top of the table. They might be able to further distance between themselves and the chasing pack by the end of the weekend.

Punters will be wary that Sundowns’ last two games have both ended in 1-1 draws but they are strong bets for away success and to make a further step towards regaining the title.

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