Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela believes his side’s hard fought midweek victory over Mpumalanga Black Aces has prepared the defending champions perfectly for Saturday’s visit of eternal rivals, Orlando Pirates, to contest the 156th Soweto Derby meeting between the two giants of domestic football.
Over and above the desire for prestige and bragging rights that accompany a Derby triumph, Komphela has his sights firmly set on the three Absa Premiership points on offer, as they look to extend their unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season to nine matches.
“We had a tough match against Aces on Tuesday, but it was exactly what we needed to prepare us for the huge challenge that awaits us on Saturday,” reflected Komphela about the Black Aces game.
“Derbies are always special occasions and demand a higher level of intensity, determination and composure.
"These games are all about mental strength and I have faith in my players’ ability to cope with the passion and emotion that comes with a Derby. We remain focused on our primary ambition, which is to retain our league championship title.”
The esteemed fixture dates back 45 years to 1970, and ranks among the great derby matches of world football, along with Manchester City v Manchester United, Grêmio v Internacional, Boca Juniors v River Plate, Raja Casablanca v Wydad Casablanca and Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid.
Chiefs lead the overall contest by 67 wins to the Buccaneers’ 36 in official matches between the two clubs and victory on Saturday will maintain the mighty Amakhosi’s position among the frontrunners in this season’s title race.
The Glamour Boys will be led out onto the pitch by Siphiwe Tshabalala, who will make a record 24th Soweto Derby appearance, the most by any player since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996.
He’ll be able to draw inspiration from a special guest at the match, erstwhile Chiefs legend, Ebson ‘Sugar’ Muguyo. The Zimbabwean became the first player to score a hat-trick in a Derby when he found the net three times in the BP Top 16 semi-final replay, way back in 1975.
“As everybody knows, this is a game like no other,” said Kaizer Chiefs marketing director, Jessica Motaung.
“Playing against Pirates means there is extra pride at stake and there is no greater feeling than coming out on top against our fiercest opponents.
"The whole of the Kaizer Chiefs family will be out in force to support the players in their quest for victory.”
The match kicks off at 15:30 on Saturday, October 31.