Cape Town - Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena will take charge of his first Soweto derby fixture against Kaizer Chiefs when the two sides meet in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals on Saturday.
The match is scheduled for 15:00 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The Buccaneers are in desperate need of a boost while Chiefs have been flying high as the PSL fixture list mounts.
But there might be some glimmer of hope for Mokwena.
According to Extra Time Media, Pirates have gone five years without silverware and recent history suggests beating Amakhosi could be a step towards ending the drought.
Bucs have won seven major trophies in the last 16 years, shared between four different coaches. Of those, three won the Soweto derby on their first attempt after taking charge - Ruud Krol, Júlio César Leal, and Augusto Palacios.
Vladimir Vermezovic is the only Orlando Pirates coach during that time to lift silverware, the 2014 Nedbank Cup, after losing his first derby at the helm. He’s also the only Pirates coach in the last 13 years to lose his first two competitive Soweto Derbies. He resigned two and a half months after the second, a 1-0 loss in the MTN8 final.
First Soweto derby in charge for Orlando Pirates coaches
Mokwena will face Chiefs again in the league a week after the Telkom Knockout quarter-final.
Whatever happens over the weekend, he will be hoping to emulate his predecessor, Milutin Sredojevic, across those two fixtures.
'Micho' is the most successful Pirates coach in Soweto derbies over the last 13 years, winning three and drawing three over two different coaches spells.
No other Pirates coach in this period has gone unbeaten in six Soweto derbies. Roger de Sá came close with one win and four draws in five matches. Krol, meanwhile, went unbeaten for his first four Soweto derbies but lost three of the following six.
Orlando Pirates coaches and their Soweto derby records
Coaching in the PSL is a notoriously fickle business. Pirates have gone through 11 mentors in the last 13 years. But, in recent times at least, a loss in this a Soweto derby debut hasn't meant the end of the road.
Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the only coaches who lost their opening Soweto derbies are Eric Tinkler and Vermezovic. Tinkler lasted 572 days in the job after the defeat and Vermezovic 263.
Days in charge after first Soweto derby
As for PSL top scorers coming to the party, well, don't get your hopes up.
Soweto derbies are known for being cagey encounters, but Micho managed to get his team firing on all cylinders.
In six Soweto derbies where he took charge, Pirates scored nine goals, conceding five. Altogether, the Buccaneers have scored 36 goals and shipped 32 in their last 37 competitive games against Kaizer Chiefs.
Soweto derby goals: Orlando Pirates’ coaches record
*Note: All datasets take into account coaches from 2006 to 2019.