A long-standing rivalry renewed as Chiefs host Pirates

The country will be divided for 90 minutes when Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will meet for the 168th time in an official game when they clash in the Absa Premiership on Saturday afternoon. The game is billed for FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

All week long the talk of the town in taxis, schools and households around the country has been about this meeting between the two Soweto giants, with Chiefs having defeated Pirates a week ago in a Telkom Knockout quarterfinal game, Amakhosi will be hoping to repeat that on Saturday afternoon with another win.

While the first official clash between the teams took place on 24th January 1970 in a cup clash, the first league encounters between the sides happened in 1971 the league was known as the National Professional Soccer League.

It was Chiefs second league game in 1971 when they were to be the home team hosting Orlando Pirates for the inaugural time in a league game. The game turned out to be a thriller with Chiefs winning 4-3 on the 24th April 1971. Chiefs would follow that victory with another later in the season in their second league meeting against Pirates on 6th November 1971 as they would end as 2-1 winners.

Herman ‘Pele’ Blaschke would create history as he scored in both league games in 1971 against Pirates. Chiefs also went on defeat Pirates in the Life Challenge Cup in the same season defeating them in the replayed final.

A nineteen-year-old by the name of Ace Ntsoelengoe would score the winner for Chiefs in their 2-1 league triumph over Pirates on 6th November 1971, Ace was 19 years 8 months and 11 days old, that record would stand until Doctor Khumalo netted for Chiefs on 14 March 1987.

Since those first league meetings in 1971, the sides league matches have already proved to be fiery encounters on the field of play. Since the advent of the PSL in 1996/97, they have met in 46 league encounters. It took Chiefs a while to defeat Pirates in a league game in the PSL era Amakhosi were winless in their first five league clashes of the new era against them, that all changed on the 13th February 1999.

Thabang Lebese would prove to be Chiefs hero one Saturday afternoon a day before Valentine’s day at FNB Stadium as he scored a brace a goal in each half to see Amakhosi through to a 2-1 win. Chiefs would make further history in this fixture when they defeated Pirates home and away in the 2005/06 season.

It was the first time since the start of the PSL in 1996/97 that either team had achieved such a feat. In those two games with current Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp at the helm David Obua became the first Chiefs player to score in both league derbies in a season against Pirates. Subsequently Siphiwe Tshabalala would equal that feat for Chiefs as he managed to net in both league games against Pirates in 2011/12 – a 2-1 home win for Chiefs and a 3-2 away loss.

Ernst Middendorp was still in charge of Chiefs and Shaun Bartlett featured as a player when the sides played their final league derby at the FNB Stadium prior to it being renovated for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In the match on the 9th December 2006, Pirates took the lead through Benedict Vilakazi just eight minutes in. Bartlett broke Pirates hearts when he headed home a corner inside referee’s optional time at the end of the second half. It was the final goal scored at the old FNB Stadium as the game ended 1-1.

Overall since 1996/97 this will be the 47th Absa Premiership meeting between the sides. Of the previous 46 each team has managed 11 wins with a further 24 games ending in a draw – over these games Chiefs have scored 43 goals while Pirates have managed 44.

While Chiefs have not managed to have things go their way in the last four seasons against Pirates in league games. Amakhosi will be looking to draw inspiration and motivation from the past successes against their old rivals when they face them on Saturday, 9 November at 15:30.