Johannesburg - For the first time in many seasons there isn’t much hype and anticipation ahead of the Soweto derby.
Neither Kaizer Chiefs nor Orlando Pirates have been convincing thus far this season and supporters could be forgiven for not giving a damn about this game.
Not that previous matches mean anything going into the derby.
But if there is a time for the supporters to stand up and rally behind their teams, this would be it.
Wall of steel
And the same applies to the players, who need to come to the party too.
Players need no motivation playing against big clubs and this should be the case on Saturday.
After losing two games at home – to SuperSport and Baroka – Chiefs cannot afford yet another home loss if they want to win the championship at the end of the season.
After their defeat to Baroka a fortnight ago, players built a wall of steel around beleaguered Steve Komphela when supporters were baying for his blood.
Now it is time to do it on the field – not just for him, but for themselves too – after letting their supporters down.
There is no better way to do it than in the derby and prove their critics wrong.
The fact that they go into the game on the back foot could be a blessing in disguise as not many people give them a chance.
But anything less than a victory would plunge their season into further darkness and could also decide Komphela’s fate.
He will be without six of his key players – five defenders and a striker.
That being said, Pirates are not out of the woods either.
Although they look stable at the back, it is at the other end of the field that the Bucs are still struggling.
The arrival of Wayne Sandilands has given Pirates the much-needed stability in goal and he has already kept four clean sheets and conceded as many goals in seven matches.
Playing in his maiden derby should spur him on and inspire him to keep yet another clean sheet.
Former Pirates striker Andries Sebola has urged coach Milutin Sredojevic to resort to the tried-and-tested 4-4-2 formation.
Could be difference
The man who was dubbed Supersub believes this system will give his former side the advantage going forward.
“Pirates look better in defence this time but my main concern is going forward. They are too reliant on one striker and I think if he changes the formation we will get more goals,” Sebola said.
Chiefs will turn to their captain Itumeleng Khune for inspiration following his “player of the month” award.
The goalkeeper has been head and shoulders above the rest of his team-mates, evident from his three back-to-back “man of the match” awards that led to his winning the first “player of the month” award of the season.
Khune could be the difference in whether Chiefs win or lose, and will surely not want to end up on the losing side again.