Normally, when two giants meet, the grass suffers. But in the context of the famed Soweto derby, it is the fans who suffer.
In recent times, when Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs meet, they dished out such lacklustre performances that fans were not mesmerised to an extent that they no longer have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Tickets for today’s derby – this time in the last-32 of the Nedbank Cup – did not sell as fast as it would be expected for such a big game, and there were a few thousand still available yesterday afternoon.
The fans can hardly be faulted for the lack of interest though. Recent derbies have served up little entertainment and have generally left fans nostalgic, remembering the “good old days” when the match was a thrill-a-minute and kept them on the edge of their seats, with players mesmerising them with silky skills and some great goals.
Today, the Soweto giants will square up again at FNB Stadium – for the fourth time in an official game this season – and the match may yet turn out to be a thriller asit provides the last chance for either team to grab some silverware this season. Hopefully, the prospect of a barren season will jolt them into dishing out their best.
Pirates have shown in some games this season that they can play attractive football, with the likes of Thabo Rakhale, Sifiso Myeni and Thabo Qalinge thrilling fans with fancy footwork.
The Buccaneers have been ruled out of the race for the league title, and should they be knocked out of the Nedbank Cup, it would mean they will finish a consecutive season without any silverware.
Chiefs, who won two titles last season – the league and the MTN8 – still have a mathematical chance, but will need a miracle to retain the league. The Nedbank Cup provides the last realistic chance for them to salvage something this season.
In a media conference at the PSL’s offices on Thursday, Amakhosi mentor, Steve Komphela may have shed some light on why the game has not lived up to standard in recent years. “If you say to a kid, ‘go get a tray of eggs and be careful that you don’t drop them’, chances are that the kid will drop them,” said Komphela explaining the emotions that players go through during the country’s most anticipated game.
“But if you just say, ‘go get the eggs’, they will bring them running,” added Komphela. Amakhosi defender, Tsepo Masilela, said all the players are aware of what is at stake. “It is a culture at Chiefs that we win every cup competition that we play in. This game is our chance to win a trophy,” said Masilela.