Boks am­plify Soweto Derby fever

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MIHLALI BALEKA

THE SOWETO derby is the per­fect ic­ing for sport-lov­ing fans still cel­e­brat­ing the Spring­boks’ sweet Rugby World Cup vic­tory.

The Spring­boks am­pli­fied the derby fever when they took their vic­tory tour to Soweto yes­ter­day and even posed for pic­tures with Or­lando Pi­rates play­ers that were train­ing at Or­lando Sta­dium.

Even among the Boks’ eupho­ria sweep­ing across the coun­try, both Kaizer Chiefs and Or­lando Pi­rates are well aware of the im­por­tance of keep­ing the brag­ging rights in this much-an­tic­i­pated clash.

Ernst Mid­den­dorp and Rhu­lani Mok­wena, the coaches of Amakhosi and the Bucs, re­spec­tively, em­braced each other with a pro­fes­sional hand­shake when they posed for the cam­eras, af­ter an in­tense week of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare, at the Soweto Derby press con­fer­ence at the Kil­lar­ney Coun­try

Club yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

A few would blame them for be­ing re­served though, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing what full points could do af­ter full-time at the Cal­abash on Sat­ur­day (kick-off 3pm).

The two Soweto gi­ants head to FNB Sta­dium on dif­fer­ent sides of the coin – Chiefs are look­ing to ex­tend their lead at the sum­mit of the Absa Pre­mier­ship as they are cur­rently on 25 points – seven points ahead of de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Mamelodi Sun­downs – fol­low­ing eight wins, one draw and one loss.

Pi­rates, on the other hand, are look­ing for a rem­edy that will steer them out of trou­bled waters, hav­ing fallen from the dizzy­ing heights of be­ing tipped to be ti­tle con­tenders, to a team that’s found it­self back in a re­con­struc­tion phase af­ter man­ag­ing only three wins this sea­son.

There is, more­over, a nice el­e­ment added to to­mor­row’s ri­valry.

This is the sec­ond round of the Soweto derby in only seven days af­ter the Soweto gi­ants squared off in the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Telkom Knock­out at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium last Sat­ur­day.

The Buc­ca­neers head into this en­counter with am­ple be­lief that they can con­tinue with their dom­i­nance over their sworn en­e­mies.

There’s a new sher­iff in town in Na­turena – Ernst Mid­den­dorp. The Ger­man tac­ti­cian has been a pil­lar of strength for his charges, en­gen­der­ing a sense of be­lief in his team.

And that’s why when the dust set­tles to­mor­row af­ter­noon, whichever coach bags full points will grip the other with the most gen­uine hand­shake of all!


KAIZER Chiefs player Laza­lous Kam­bole bat­tles for the ball with Or­lando Pi­rates’ Mthokozisi Dube dur­ing the pre-sea­son Car­ling Black La­bel Cup clash at FNB Sta­dium in July. |

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