I opened a hornets' nest by daring to ask whether
there was something wrong with Kaizer Chiefs after playing to three draws in the
league and being bundled out of the Telkom Knockout.
The Amakhosi faithful descended on me like a ton of
bricks or a swarm of angry bees for daring to venture into that territory.
Their club also vindicated them with an emphatic 3-0
victory over Bidvest Wits to stay 11 points clear of immediate pursuers Ajax
But a realistic look will show that the club did
suffer a slight blip as shown by the Q2 log issued by the PSL on Tuesday that
showed Polokwane City on top after four matches with Chiefs - who comfortably
won Q1 - appearing in position six with one win in four outings.
But back to midweek business, that Chiefs' victory
over Wits came a day after arch-rivals Orlando Pirates succumbed 2-1 to Maritzburg
United, meant that the Buccaneers are now 15 points behind Chiefs.
This, plus the fact that Vladimir "VV" Vermezovic
quit as coach leaving Eric Tinkler as caretaker coach, has just added more
spark to Saturday's Soweto Derby.
While some might think "advantage Chiefs", things don't
normally work like that, more especially where these two giants of South
African soccer are concerned.
In fact, Chiefs should be wary of the fact that their
opponents come into this encounter as a wounded lion. We all know how dangerous
that can be.
Another common aspect of the South African game is
that players tend to show their dislike for a coach by non-performance.
Under these circumstances, one can never rule out
that VV did not get along with the
players and they decided to vote with their feet.
Also, the great Soweto Derby has proved over the years
that it is a match where form usually counts for nought.
It usually does not matter which club is on song and
which is down and out, the two clubs produce fireworks most of the time - except
for a few dour encounters that have ended in goalless draws.
With Chiefs comfortably (at least for now) perched at
the summit of the standings, all those below them would like to take pot-shots
at them and nothing would please The Ghost (as Pirates supporters are
collectively known) than to see their club be the first to claim their rivals'
scalp this season.
Chiefs are unbeaten in 13 outings and have only lost
one match, that penalty shootout against Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout.
Another ingredient that makes the derby tick, is the
crowd. And as we all know tickets for this game were sold out long before it
was postponed following the death of Senzo Meyiwa.
One can be guaranteed of an electric vibe inside the African calabash.
It has happened in the past that the points at stake
were not of prime importance as opposed to bragging rights and pride. But this time
around, the points are crucial for both clubs before the Africa Cup of Nations-induced break in January.
All in all, expect fireworks on Saturday.
S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is
currently City Press Sports Editor.
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