Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs face Orlando Pirates in one of the biggest games on the continent on Saturday but the 2014/15 edition threatens to be the least competitive yet.
League fixtures between the two Soweto giants suggest a draw a Saturday, with six of the last ten ending in a stalemate but that all changed when the news came in of Vladimir Vermezovic's resignation as coach of Orlando Pirates. Chiefs now know that Saturday’s game is one derby that is there for the taking.
While numerous Kaizer Chiefs players have stated that the derby will be closely fought with no clear pre-match favourites, many local soccer fans are not buying into those beliefs.
Kaizer Chiefs will walk away as derby day winners and here are THREE reasons why:
1. CHIEFS HAVE ALL THE MOMENTUM
Kaizer Chiefs have all the momentum going into this fixture with coach Stuart Baxter now firmly at the top of his game. The Glamour Boys thrashing of Bidvest Wits on Wednesday would have sent shivers down the spine of even the most ardent Buccaneers fan.
Chiefs are runaway log leaders with 33 points, that tally is already just more than half the amount Sundowns had when they won the PSL last season. Pirates on the other hand are lying in seventh place after being beaten at home by Maritzburg United. Their last six games in the PSL read: LWLWDL. Momentum swings the derby in Chiefs favour.
2. CHIEFS ARE THE STRONGER UNIT
How many players that start for Orlando Pirates would make the starting lineup of their arch-rivals? Bernard Parker is back and fit and has already found the back of the net. Katsande, Letsholonyane, Lebese, Maluleka, Tshabalala make up a potent midfield while no team in the league can boast a better back four this season.
Brilliant Khuzwayo has been sensational in between the posts for the Glamour Boys in the absence of Itumeleng Khune.
On current form, it’s hard to see more than two or three players from the Sea Robbers getting a look in a combined Chiefs/Pirates XI. Man for man Kaizer Chiefs are a stronger unit and should make this tell on Saturday.
3. CHIEFS ARE AVOIDING THE DRAMA
In local football, drama and the ball are never far away but this season, Kaizer Chiefs have been able to avoid any behind the scenes chaos that can so easily derail their promising start.
On the other hand, VV’s resignation could have disastrous effects on the side. Will Oupa Manyisa stay at the club should they finish in fourth place or worse? Can Eric Tinkler get control of the changing room and turn the ship around? Will Pirates be able to find a suitable replacement for the late Senzo Meyiwa?
Expect the situation to get worse for Pirates before it gets better...
*Follow Sport24 soccer journalist Wade Pretorius on Twitter: @wadepretorius