Why Chiefs have every bit of a chance spoiling the party against Pirates


Families, friends, colleagues and even partners will be divided yet again this weekend as Africa’s biggest football clash unfolds with Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates locking horns at the FNB Stadium this Saturday.



Right now, it may not seem like this fixture counts for much – apart from bragging rights, of course – but a tie of this magnitude will never be just another football game. Despite the recent success of Mamelodi Sundowns, Chiefs and Pirates are by-far the two biggest clubs in Mzansi.

As it stands, or as it is perceived, rather, Orlando Pirates are lightyears ahead of Chiefs. The difference in the log standings? Just a mere five points. Yes, Amakhosi may not be in the best position at the moment, but they could never be cheaply written off as if it was just another free-hit fixture.

This will be Ernst Middendorp’s first derby since re-joining the Khosi nation, while there have already been plenty of positive signs for the Chiefs coach, winning three of his five league encounters in charge – losing just the two – courtesy of a couple of abysmal howlers by Virgil Vries against Sundowns and Cape Town City.

Since then, and to no surprise at all, Vries has been replaced with the Absa Premiership’s only representative at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Daniel Akpeyi, being snapped up from Chippa United. Yes, perhaps not the signing that the fans had hoped for, but the Nigerian shot-stopper is a massive upgrade on Vries.

Throwing him in the deep end could work in his favour, while the main focus won’t entirely be on him – with new signing Reeve Frosler, as well as the vastly-improving Happy Mashiane, looking to make their first appearance in the derby in black and gold colours.

Chiefs will definitely be up for it, while apart from media hype, Pirates haven’t been as convincing as they’re made out to be, winning just one of their last five games across all competitions. The Buccaneers have goalkeeping issues of their own, while their backline has also proved to be shaky when asked a couple of questions.

The Glamour Boys have been sharp in attack and creative in possession of the ball with the likes of Khama Billiat and Pule Ekstein finally gelling together, linking up well with Leonardo Castro, who is unplayable on his day up front.

Chiefs have lost their last three games against Pirates, which has been a bitter pill to swallow for the team, but this time around, mark my words, they have every chance of getting a result against their Soweto rivals.