Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau has called on his players to combine as a team ahead of their crucial Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Sunday.
“Teamwork will be the key. Derby games are different, there is a lot more emotions and tension and the team that controls themselves better will come out on top,” Tau said.
Chiefs are second on the Absa Premiership table, trailing the Buccaneers by two points, and with a win they will leapfrog their arch-rivals with just eight games remaining in the league season.
And while Tau said they would be gunning to take the lead, he added that they were already looking ahead and would not place all their hopes on a single match.
“Saturday's game will not decide the title. It's not like if we win against Pirates the league is over,” he said.
“There are still eight games to play after the derby, so we're just taking it one game at a time.”
Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi said they would approach the game differently after losing their last two derby encounters with Amakhosi.
“We need to focus for the whole game, but the first 15 minutes will be crucial for us,” Lekgwathi said.
“The last time they beat us they scored their goals in the first 15 minutes, so if we stop them getting off to a fast start that will be the key.”
Pirates, despite topping the standings, go into the match as underdogs with injuries and suspensions affecting their preparations, and they will need to combine well to put up a strong challenge.
Lekgwathi said they had confidence in their second string players in the absence of a handful of first-choice options.
“We've been battling with injuries in our team but that won't affect us,” he said.
“We have a good squad with lots of young players who will be very motivated to play well.
“I've spoken to those young guys that are going to get a chance and I've told them to grab it with both hands.
“Our focus is to go there and play our game, play like we know we can play and to maintain our position on the log.”
Ajax Cape Town, who are third in the standings, will also have the chance to go top of the table on Friday night.
Ajax trail Chiefs only on goal difference, and a win over Free State Stars at Athlone Stadium on Friday night would bump them to the top of the table.
Also on Friday, Maritzburg United are at home to Santos at Harry Gwala Stadium.
Amazulu host Vasco Da Gama on Saturday afternoon, and Bidvest Wits travel to Atteridgeville to face Mamelodi Sundowns in the evening.
On Sunday, Moroka Swallows host Platinum Stars at the Dobsonville Stadium, Mpumalanga Black Aces are at home to Golden Arrows at the Puma Stadium and Bloemfontein Celtic host SuperSport United at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.