Mark Gleeson

Who has Soweto derby edge?

2012-03-12 12:00
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Ahead of the weekend’s derby game, it is not clear who has the bigger advantage going into the much anticipated encounter.

Chiefs do not have a match this midweek, because their scheduled meeting with Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday has been called off.

Pirates do. They have a potentially tough encounter with Santos at Cape Town’s Athlone Stadium.

Usually you would think a game like that, just some 60 hours before the derby, would be energy-sapping and of potentially damming consequences to the Buccaneers.

It is not like they can take lightly the game against Santos. Having fallen off the pace in the title race, they must win to either haul in, or keep in step with, the clubs who are at the head of the standings.

Chiefs, on the other hand, now have Wednesday off, thanks to the rain that fell over Durban on Sunday.

The knock on effect of a spectacularly sudden downpour over the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday means Chiefs’ scheduled meeting with Ajax Cape Town in Polokwane is off.

This is because the poor drainage at the World Cup venue in Durban meant the puddles that suddenly appeared on Sunday made finishing the Nedbank Cup tie between AmaZulu and Ajax impossible.

So those two protagonists will return to complete the first round on Tuesday. Ajax cannot be expected to play another match one day later so the league outing against Chiefs is likely to be switched in mid-April.

But for Chiefs the postponement of their midweek match means that when they walk out to play Pirates at Soccer City on Saturday, they will not have played a competitive fixture in 14 days.

Coaches these days are keen to keep their sides in a steady rhythm, making sure match fitness levels are peaking and the concentration and intensity is high. Parking off for a fortnight is no recipe for success.

So while Chiefs will likely be fresher than Pirates, they might just be too fresh … if you get my meaning.

The disparity in the build-up will also test the theory that Pirates have vastly more depth and strength in their squad. Pirates have used 35 players in action already this season (although several have since left the club) and Chiefs seven less. Over a long and demanding campaign, and particularly at times like this when fixtures are being squeezed into an already tight season, having a strong group of players is vital.

But it is not necessary a championship-winning criteria. We have seen Mamelodi Sundowns consistently buy squads filled with talent and yet all those fanciful purchases failed to deliver … so far.

Squad rotation is much more of an art these days; gently managing playing times and egos is part of the coach’s acumen.

The derby is key to both club’s chances of championship success this season. It will also test some of the game’s oft-sprouted theories.

Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer:
Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    psl  |  mark gleeson
NEXT ON SPORT24X

NZ: Burger fine No 8 Bok fit

2014-09-29 11:12

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

Did you see enough in South Africa's 28-10 win over Australia to suggest they could upset the All Blacks at Ellis Park?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.