The biggest spectacle on the South African football calendar takes centre-stage once again when Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs clash in the 164th Soweto Derby encounter at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon in front of a sell-out 85 000 strong crowd.
The Buccaneers are currently sat in second place, two points above Chiefs, with four wins‚ four draws and two defeats from their opening 10 league outings.
Pirates come into this match as favourites to beat their arch-rivals as they look to stretch their unbeaten run in the derby to 11 matches.
Milutin Sredojevic’s charges narrowly saw off Chippa United 1-0 in the Telkom Knockout last 16 clash last weekend, and will be eager to continue their winning momentum.
Ezimnyama Ngenkani have this term gone six matches without suffering a defeat, though they will be without one key member Luvuyo Memela who has been ruled out due to injury after suffering a knee strain. Ironically, ‘Amigo’ was the star man in last season’s derby when Pirates trumped Chiefs 3-1, with the diminutive man bagging a brace in that encounter.
Micho will bank on in-form winger Vincent Pule who has hit the ground running since joining the Buccaneers in August, netting four goals and two assists so far this season. Pule was recently named Pirates’ Player and Goal of the Month individual for September, and also came off the bench to bag the winner in Bucs’ triumph over the Chilli Boys.
Amakhosi come into this tie after they scraped past Black Leopards with a 4-2 penalty shootout win in the Telkom Knockout Cup.
Giovanni Solinas’ men are third on the PSL standings with three wins‚ five draws and two losses, and will be looking to finally end their winless run against their rivals which now stretches back to 2014.
Though this match will be played at the Calabash, Chiefs will be the away team and are undefeated in the league so far this season when it comes to away matches, collecting 10 points from the six matches they have played.
The Glamour Boys have also been rocked by injuries and were forced into making six changes in the TKO clash with Lidoda Duvha.
Inspirational trio Khama Billiat, Lebogang Manyama and Leonardo Castro all sat out the clash, but took part in this week’s training, and will be assessed closer to kick-off.
If Billiat passes fit, he will be the linchpin and provide Amakhosi with an attacking prowess that could trouble the Buccaneers defence.
The Zimbabwean marksman has five goals and four assists to his name in all competitions this campaign.