DStv Premiership Preview: Soweto Derby

South Africa comes to a standstill this weekend when Orlando Pirates host rivals in a DStv Premiership encounter taking place at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The highly-anticipated clash is the final Soweto Derby for the 2023/24 season and arrives at a crucial juncture in the campaign with a maximum of only 33 points up for grabs for each of the two sides in the remainder of the season. 

Form Guide 

Very little separates South Africa’s two biggest teams in the standings, with the Buccaneers placed a spot above Amakhosi. Jose Riveiro’s troops are in fifth place, having notched up a total of 30 points, one more than their Soweto rivals after 19 games played. 

They remain unbeaten in 2024 after playing four games across competitions but will want to improve on their midweek performance where they dropped two points at home, relinquishing a one-goal lead to settle for a 1-1 stalemate against Cape Town Spurs. 

This was the latest in what has been a mixed bag of results over their last five league outings, which have seen them collecting just one victory alongside two defeats and as many draws.

Three points on Saturday could take the hosts to second place, but they face a tricky task of overcoming a Chiefs side high in confidence after bagging maximum points in their midweek assignment against Golden Arrows.

The result ended a three-match winless run in the league, where each of their fixtures yielded a single point with just one goal scored. It also took their points tally over the last five league games to nine, courtesy of two wins and three draws.

Much like the Buccaneers, they also have the chance to hop up to second place in the standings should they bag a win on Saturday.

Team News 

The hosts go into the derby sweating over the availability of striker Evidence Makgopa, who remains doubtful after sitting out the game against Spurs due to a knock picked up shortly after netting the winner in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Polokwane City.

Riveiro’s options up front include Tshegofatso Mabasa, who put on a decent showing in his first start since returning from loan, as well as Zakhele Lepasa who made a cameo appearance on Wednesday.

Pirates have been boosted in defence by the availability of centre-back Olisa Ndah following a yellow-card suspension that prevented him from featuring at Orlando Stadium.

Their opponents have at least one confirmed absentee in defender Edmilson Dove, who completes his two-match ban after being sent off during his side’s recent Soweto Derby against Moroka Swallows. 

Meanwhile, Siyethemba Sithebe’s lengthy absence looks set to continue as the midfielder continues to recover from an injury that has kept him out of action since August last year.

Key Players 

Makhehlene Makhaula (Orlando Pirates): The midfielder has seamlessly stepped up to the plate after being handed an opportunity in the starting XI, emerging as one of the more consistent performers in the Bucs squad. Makhaula has started each of this year’s fixtures, with his experience and composed demeanour providing stability in the middle of the park.

Pule Mmodi (Kaizer Chiefs): Mmodi is enjoying a decent debut season at Chiefs, rising to become the club’s leading goal scorer in the league. The winger added an assist to his list of goal contributions and could again be influential on attack.

Head-to-Head 

Pirates have enjoyed some success over their rivals in recent months, winning 2-1 to progress to the final of last season’s Nedbank Cup before clinching another victory in the previous edition of the Soweto Derby, played earlier in the season when Makgopa netted the game’s only goal to secure the three points.

They go into Saturday’s game looking to extend their winning run against Chiefs to three straight victories, a feat that will mark a sharp turnaround in fortunes after going winless in the five derbies preceding last year’s cup win.

In the last 16 league meetings between the two Soweto Giants, it is Amakhosi who hold a slight upper hand with seven wins while the Buccaneers have emerged as winners on five occasions. Four games have ended in a draw during this period, with the last such result dating back to the 2018/19 season.

How to Watch Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs

The game kicks off at 15:30 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport PSL and Variety 4. Orlando Pirates will provide live updates across the Club’s social media platforms as well as the Club’s official mobile app. 

A limited number of tickets is still available on TicketPro online and in selected outlets nationwide.

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