IT’S Soweto versus Durban!
Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will have a common goal this weekend… beat Durban teams Golden Arrows and AmaZulu.
Chiefs host AmaZulu in their Absa Premiership showdown at FNB Stadium on Saturday (8.15pm) while Pirates will be at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium visiting Arrows at 6pm.
Following their win against Pirates last weekend, Chiefs fans will be hoping for another three points against the struggling Usuthu who have put their coach Jozef Vukusic on “special leave”.
Interim coaches Ayanda Dlamini and Moeneeb Josephs have a mammoth task to spoil the early celebrations for Amakhosi.
But that does not mean Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp is having a peaceful night’s sleep.
The Amakhosi coach confirmed that he is also uncomfortable facing the two former players who are temporarily on the Usuthu bench.
Middendorp does not know what to expect as the duo might bring along the five players that were suspended by Vukusic for allegedly sabotaging him.
Lehlohonolo Majoro, Jabulani Ncobeni, Michael Morton, Thembela Sikhakhane, and Nhlanhla Vilakazi have been training separately from the rest of the first team.
Said Middendorp: “Ironically, it was September 2019 when we played (Chiefs won 2-0) them in Durban, they had the same situation, new coach came in, it was his first game. Now again a change of coaches, a technical team responsible for putting something together. It’s a bit more difficult for us (to know) what they are doing, if all suspended players are back into it (the team).”
Although, Amakhosi look set to end their four year trophy drought, Middendorp says he doesn’t mention the league title as a motivational tool when he plans for matches.
“I don’t have to mention it (title). We have a clear goal set at the beginning of the season, we don’t repeat it again and again. This is our strategy to handle it properly.”
Amakhosi will be without key central midfielder Willard Katsande who has been ruled out for a month after he sustained a knee ligament injury against Pirates.
In Durban, Arrows defender Nkosinathi Sibisi says they have a plan up their sleeves to rub more salt into Pirates wounds.
Sibisi will have the difficult task of marshalling Bucs dangerman and leading scorer Gabadinho Mhango. The Malawian international and former Arrows star has netted 14 goals this season.
Said Sibisi: “Pirates are quick, they can score anytime. I thought they were unfortunate not to get maximum points against Chiefs. We have been working hard at training to play more offensively and we will try to catch them on the counter attack.”
Arrows coach Steve Komphela emphasised the importance of playing the match in Clermont. He said the pitch is shorter and more compact, which won’t allow Pirates to play their expansive style of football.