Kaizer Chiefs will face their old foes Orlando Pirates in an official Soweto Derby for the 169th time when top of the table Chiefs visit third placed Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Like many other encounters in the last half a century, the game will be played in front of what will be a capacity crowd at the iconic stadium in a game that could help shape the destiny of the league title.
The rivalry between Chiefs and Pirates which sees households divided in their support for both teams, has been the talk of the town all month long and the rivalry between the two township foes has just turned 50.
Amakhosi and the Buccaneers first met in an official game back on 24 January 1970 in the Play-off for third place in Rogue Beer Cup, shortly after Chiefs were formed on 7 January 1970. Chiefs won the first league meetings between the sides in 1971. Amakhosi won the first clashes 4-3 and 2-1 in the old National Professional Soccer League between the sides in April and November 1971. Chiefs have generally had the upper hand in this fixture winning 68 games in all competitions to Pirates’ 41.
In recent times though, it was Pirates who held sway until Chiefs ended a nine-game winless run in league games against them with a 3-2 triumph last November. The game which saw Chiefs cede a two-goal advantage, before Daniel Cardoso scored the match winner for Chiefs from the penalty spot. Chiefs have overcome Pirates twice already this season in addition to their victory in the Absa Premiership, they also defeated them in a Telkom Knockout Cup quarterfinal clash, winning the game on penalties after it ended 2-2.
History beckons for Chiefs as victory for them on Saturday will see Amakhosi complete their first set of home and away league triumphs over Pirates, since the 2005-06 season when Ernst Middendorp was also in charge of Chiefs. The German mentor will be standing in a game against Pirates in all competitions for an eighth time and is yet to lose with a record of three wins and four draws, although two of the drawn games ended in penalty shoot-out wins in cup games.
Middendorp who as Chiefs coach has faced coaches from a variety of nations on the opposite end faces a coach from his homeland Germany in a Soweto Derby against Pirates for the first time, with Josef Zinnbauer running the line for the Sea Robbers. Middendorp will hoping to use his years of experience in Derby games as Chiefs coach against both Pirates and Moroka Swallows to help guide Chiefs through to a win over his compatriot.
Down the years there have been many history makers in this fixture with former Chiefs attacker Ace Ntsoelengoe has netting 19 goals against Pirates, the most any player has scored in derby games between the two teams.
Ntsoelengoe was 19 years 8 months and 11 days old when he scored the game winner in Chiefs 2-1 league triumph away from home over Pirates on November 1971. Another teenager was Doctor Khumalo was just 19 years 7 months and 16 days old when he netted for Chiefs in a 2-1 home league win over Pirates on the 14 March 1987 away from home. It was co-incidentally Khumalo’s first league goal for Chiefs.
Since 1996-97 former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala has featured in the most number of league derbies from players featuring for either side he played in 22 of them. Current Chiefs striker Leonardo Castro has managed to score four goals for Chiefs in the derby against Pirates in all competitions. Another goal for Castro will see him become Chiefs highest scorer in the PSL era in all competitions as it will be his 5th goal against Pirates, currently he and Tshabalala have both scored four goals against Pirates.
With history and tradition on the line it will be all to play for as Chiefs look to consolidate top spot and hold onto bragging rights, over their township neighbours for the season.
The last Soweto Derby of the 2019-20 season will kick off at 15:30, with FNB Stadium’s gates opening at 11:00. Tickets are sold out.