Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates Preview


South Africa will come to a standstill on Saturday when the nation's two most glamorous clubs, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, lock horns in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals in Durban's iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Amakhosi are favourites to beat their fierce rivals and rightly so. Ernst Middendorp’s men sit top of the ABSA Premiership and made a big statement with their 2-0 away win over champions Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend. 

As for the Buccaneers, confidence is at an all-time low at the moment as they currently find themselves languishing in eighth place in the PSL. 

Rhulani Mokwena's charges managed to beat Highlands Park 1-0 in the league at the Makhulong Stadium on Tuesday night, but Tshegofatso Mabasa’s goal should have been ruled offside. Prior to that match, the Bucs suffered a 1-0 defeat away to promoted Stellenbosch.

Who will win the first competitive Soweto derby of the season? Read our main feature and find out. 

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Telkom Knockout Quarter-Finals
Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates   
Saturday 02 November 
Moses Mabhida Stadium 
15:00


To Win (90 min)
Chiefs 13/10
Draw 2/1
Pirates 2/1

Kaizer Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs will head into the Soweto derby in high spirits compared to previous meetings with their fierce rivals. The Glamour Boys have failed to beat the Bucs in their last nine attempts, losing four and drawing five. Their last victory over Pirates came in the 2015/16 Telkom Knockout Cup, claiming a 6-5 win on penalties following a goalless stalemate. 

The last time Chiefs beat the Buccaneers in 90 minutes was in their title-winning campaign where they won 2-0 at the FNB Stadium in December 2014. It’s quite obvious that Amakhosi have struggled against their arch rivals in recent seasons. But fast forward to the present day, and its Pirates who would be quaking with fear.

Chiefs have looked like a force to reckon with this season and they underlined their ABSA Premiership title credentials last weekend when they deservedly beat Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld, the best possible morale-booster ahead of Saturday’s Soweto derby.

That victory – secured by a brace from Samir Nurkovic – sent out a real statement of intent, confirming them as genuine contenders to dethrone the Brazilians in the domestic championship as they opened up a five-point lead at the top of the log. 

Middendorp faced tough criticism on his return to Naturena last year, with many local pundits – myself included – feeling that his appointment wasn’t much of an upgrade on the clueless Giovanni Solinas. But the German tactician has proven his doubters wrong this season and has instilled passion, hard work, hunger and a winning mentality. 

Middendorp will be sweating on the fitness of Reeve Frosler, Kearyn Baccus and Bernard Parker, while Mzansi's number one Itumeleng Khune is still expected to miss. Frosler picked up an injury in last weekend’s win over Sundowns, while Baccus and Parker were both stretchered off in their 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Cape Town City in the previous round of the Telkom Knockout Cup.

Chiefs showed against the league champions that they can still win without those players on the field and they’ll fancy their chances of beating the Buccaneers. The firepower of Nurkovic, Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat would be giving Rhulani sleepless nights. 

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Orlando Pirates

At the start of the 2019/20 season, Orlando Pirates were most pundits’ tip to dethrone Mamelodi Sundowns as ABSA Premiership champions, with Thembinkosi Lorch the talk of the town. Fast forward to now and the Sea Robbers are out of the title race, MTN8 and the CAF Champions League. The Telkom Knockout is Pirates’ last chance of salvaging something from their troubled season and perhaps Rhulani’s last chance to salvage his reputation.

When Mokwena took over the helm following Micho Sredojevic’s surprising departure, it was always going to be a difficult challenge and to be fair, he wasn’t ready for the curveball that was thrown at him. However, the young manager has got the job he’s always wanted, even when Micho was still in charge. 

It’s sink or swim for Rhulani. Sadly, the 34-year-old is drowning. Some might argue he has the football intelligence to lead Pirates out of their current slump, but he will be judged on results, not brilliant quotes. The Buccaneers are in desperate need of a boost and victory over an in-form Chiefs side could give them the confidence they need to turn things around.

As previously mentioned, Lorch was the talk of the town with many convinced that he could follow in the footsteps of Percy Tau and try make a name for himself at the highest level. At 23, I still think it could happen for him, but at the moment, he is struggling to find his gears. He looks a shadow of the player who won the PSL’s Footballer of the Season last year. 

While Rhulani is finding it tough to fill Micho’s shoes as Pirates lie eighth in the ABSA Premiership following just three league wins so far this season, what’s important is that he still has the backing of majority of the supporters, who will need to act as the 12th man on Saturday.

Despite their poor form, Pirates will still believe they have enough quality to prevent Chiefs from claiming a sixth consecutive victory. The head to head record is on the Bucs’ side, but they’re up against a new-look Amakhosi.

Probable line-ups:

Kaizer Chiefs: 3-4-3
Akpeyi; Sasman, Mathoho, Cardoso; Blom, Maluleka, Katsande, Manyama; Billiat, Nurkovic, Castro.

Orlando Pirates: 4-4-2
Sandilands; Mako, Nyauza, Jele, Dube; Pule, Mntambo, Makaringe, Lorch; Mabasa, Shonga. 

Prediction: Kaizer Chiefs Win (13/10)

Chiefs will come into this game high on confidence and well rested (as Pitso says) while Pirates faced a tough trip to Highlands Park in midweek. The Glamour Boys will be keen to end their hoodoo against their arch rivals and will also seek revenge as the Buccaneers dumped them out of the Telkom Knockout in Durban last year. Middendorp’s men look unstoppable at the moment and I fancy them to win. 

Written by Chad N

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