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

 

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
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Pedal power to hit Kouga this May

Hundreds of adrenaline junkies will descend on Kouga this May for the annual action-packed MySpar Mountain Bike Classic.

 
 

Outdoor

Extreme Kiteboarding in Pumping Conditions!
The Arctic becomes an unlikely surfing hotspot
A romantic holiday to beat the winter blues
Why should you do a 5k?
 
 
/News
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

SuperBru Super Rugby challenge

Enter and challenge Sport24's staff!

Featured

As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel's decision to not represent South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, citing family and schedule issues, is...

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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