Boks amplify Soweto Derby fever
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. |