A heatwave has hit Johannesburg, mosquitoes emerging in hordes from their hiding places, the air too thick to breathe in with comfort and the city desperate for a deluge of rain.
The FNB Stadium was left desperate for a deluge of goals on Saturday afternoon, as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates played out a stultifying 0-0 draw. It was another Soweto derby that failed to live up to the hype, despite the best efforts of SuperSport’s multitude of camera angles, and the 80 000 or so that made the pilgrimage.
Itumeleng Khune blamed the heat for Kaizer Chiefs’ off-beat performance, and he may have had a point, if it wasn’t for the fact that there have been a long line of dreary derbies over the last few years, played in all kinds of temperatures.
In the last eight seasons, there have been a total of six goalless draws in the derby, five in the league, and one in last year’s Telkom Knockout. This has become a fixture that defences tend to dominate. It is hard to remember either goalkeeper having to make more than one decent save on Saturday – Khune to deny Thabo Rakhale in the first half, and Brighton Mhlongo to keep out Siphiwe Tshabalala in the second.
A tactician might admire Chiefs’ defensive patterns, or Pirates’ capacity to counter attack at speed, but in layman’s terms, this match was enough TO shut down even Donald Trump’s hair.
There may even come a time when fans stop attending the derby in such large numbers, especially with the overkill provided by the pre-season Carling Black Label Cup.
It seems unfair that the KZN derby on Friday night and the Limpopo derby on Sunday, both eventful affairs, were far worse attended than this tedium. Hopefully Pirates and Chiefs will give their fans more to shout about this week, as they continue their Absa Premiership campaigns.
Pirates’ game against SuperSport in Nelspruit should be a cracker, and former Matsatsantsa and current Bucs defender Edwin Gyimah shares his views on his team’s travails on the opposite page. I suppose if the game is another snooze-fest in Mbombela, Gyimah and Ertugral could always start another row to liven matters up.
Elsewhere in this week’s Phakaaathi, we speak to Bongolwethu Jayiya, a key player in Cape Town City’s impressive start to the season. City did brilliantly to down Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday, putting an early dent in the Brazilians’ title ambitions, though Pitso Mosimane’s side will surely be there or thereabouts in June. As for City, a top-eight finish would be a fine achievement for Eric Tinkler and his side.
We also have our Player- of-the-Month competition on Page 8, with some fine contenders, from a brilliant young Kaizer Chiefs defender to a Polokwane City striker with a penchant for fantastic goals.
We speak to a young Baroka FC star, Siphelele Zikalala about their clash with Amakhosi this week – can the Limpopo side stun Steve Komphela’s table-toppers? And we get the latest from Bidvest Wits, who will be playing their home match against Chippa United in Dobsonville.
Wits are certainly title contenders but it cannot help them to have to play away from Bidvest Stadium, after already spending the last week or so on the road, playing three straight away games.