Soweto giants to give ‘thirsty’ fans a glimpse of what to expect this season
YOU might be thinking this afternoon’s Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is not worth getting out of bed for because there will be plenty of these, with much more at stake.
Sure, the Black Label Cup – now in its fifth year – still has a gimmicky element to it because the Amakhosi and Buccaneers coaches past and present do not have a say in picking the starting line-ups as all that is left to the fans, who have been voting for months leading up to game-day.
They will also get to make one substitution in the first half, but that is as far as their involvement goes.
Yes, the fan coaches will be in the dug- out getting “tips” from Steve Komphela of Chiefs and his Pirates counterpart Muhsin Ertugral, but they will not be the ones facing scrutiny.
The FNB Stadium was sold out more than a week before the derby, bringing to our attention two things: the first being that the supporters are thirsty (excuse the pun) for some domestic football after a lengthy break and the second is the fact that there is so much excitement and anxiety from both sets of fans after their beloved clubs underperformed the previous season.
The Amakhosi gave up the PSL title without really putting up a fight when they finished in fifth place in Komphela’s first year in charge, while Pir- ates – under Eric Tinkler, who has since been replaced by Ertugral – ended a disappointing term by finishing seventh position on the table in their final league match.
Zero trophies for two of South Africa’s most-loved foot- ball teams and frequent visitors on the winners’ podium in previous years. You can imagine the disappointment.
So it only makes sense that they went shopping in this current transfer window.
Amakhosi have so far recruited ten new players, while Pirates have brought in the same number. None of the fresh faces have cracked the starting line- up. Football fans are fickle, but predictable.
That is where Komphela and Ertugral get to give all of us a glimpse of what to expect next month when the Premier League curtain rolls up.
Given that it is a Soweto Derby, the likelihood is that both coaches will quickly want to use their time in charge to make sure their instructions are followed to every minor detail.
It’s worth noting that the players might try to do so from the first kick off the ball. As many of them are playing to guarantee their places in the team.
The Chiefs players are under pressure to show they have the quality to “reclaim the glory”, while their Pirates counterparts know they will be under the watchful eye of a man who has already ruthlessly sent Sifiso Myeni packing.
They simply have to be more than good enough this afternoon.
Do yourself a favour and watch today’s Soweto Derby, it might not be such a gimmick after all.