Pirates versus Chiefs: Big smoke, no fire

So, where to, Soweto giants?

The answer rests in the remaining eight league games that lie in the way of Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, who put up a sterling, thrill-a-minute showing in their title chasing Absa Premiership contest today.

The hosts, Chiefs, who topped the log with 46 points going into today’s game, dubbed the match “moment of glory” in anticipation of widening the gap between themselves and their bitter rivals to eight.

The game produced more yellow cards than goals, but boy, what a game! And to think it was watched by millions across the world.

The game was watched in Europe, the US, South America, Asia and Australia – thanks to an enterprising deal by broadcaster SuperSport.

At this rate, even the Martians and species on the moon could soon be tuning in for this great football festival.

Although millions tuned in for the match, the chosen and fortunate few were the 86 000 or so fans who packed Mzansi’s gift to architecture, the calabash that hosted the finals of the 2010 World Cup and this year’s Afcon cup final in all its jewelled splendour.

That Kaizer Chiefs supporters cheered and waved their yellow and black F1-like flags at the encounter was proof of their dream of clinching the league title, which they last won when the country boasted a pipe-puffing English-schooled intellectual as president.

Chiefs have three home matches against Maritzburg, SuperSport United and Platinum Stars in their remaining eight matches.

Away trips to Bloemfontein Celtic, Golden Arrows, Ajax Cape Town, Moroka Swallows and the University of Pretoria await the Phefeni Glamour Boys.

But knowing Chiefs and their legion of supporters, wherever they play is just as good as home and their 12th man could sway the results in their favour.

Pirates have it all to do going forward, and they are engaged in the colossal task of adding another star to their skull and crossbones badge by participating in the challenging CAF Champions League.

But Pirates, who recently made headlines after losing to a team of rural school boys, put up a performance worthy of their status as defending league champions.

Goals remained as elusive as their star striker, Benny McCarthy, who’s been missing in action all season.

The Sea Robbers travel to Zambia to face Zanaco in the second round of the continental showpiece next weekend and then face tough newcomers, University of Pretoria, two weeks later.

After that they take on AmaZulu, from KwaZulu-Natal, who have undergone a rebirth of sorts under their new mentor, Craig Rosslee.

Pirates then host Zanaco at Orlando Stadium before a date with Pitso Mosimane’s Brazilians.

The side then takes on Ajax, Free State Stars, Black Leopards, Wits and Chippa United before wrapping up their league programme against Maritzburg.

Their goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa, was voted man of the match, but his opposite number Itumeleng Khune didn’t really have a busy day at the office in today’s match, which speaks volumes about the hard work that still lies ahead for Pirates.

In fact, as things stand, despite the unpredictable nature of this beautiful game, Chiefs could have only themselves to blame if the glittering Absa Premiership crown doesn’t go to Naturena come May 18.

While the Bucs’ supporters swapped their traditional black shirts for the bright red and white, their coach Roger De Sa opted for a Men In Black look.

His counterpart, Stuart Baxter, also wore a black suit for the game.

Baxter never took his seat on the bench, while De Sa spent most of the game seated, except when he stood up to deliver a few heated expletives aimed at fourth official Daniel Bennet.

Things got so heated that even the substitutes on the bench got involved in the war of words, something that earned reserve goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo a bizarre yellow card.

Had either team won this game, the destination of the league title could have become a bit clearer.

But the goalless draw left the fans with the same frustrating question: where to, Soweto giants?

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