Soweto giants to give ‘thirsty’ fans a glimpse of what to ex­pect this sea­son

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - MA­ZOLA MOLEFE

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.

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