Another edition of the Soweto Derby will be fought out later today when Chiefs and Pirates face off in the MTN8 semifinals. More correctly, half a derby, as the return leg has still to be negotiated on September 24.
There is a special mystique about any head-to-head between the Buccaneers and Amakhosi that not even the endless repetition of the changing roll of seasons and – almost inevitable – clashes in cup competitions have failed to dull. The excitement among the fans reaches fever pitch before each scheduled clash and the players in both camps freely admit that there is nothing like a derby
to fire them up.
The teams are among the best supported in Africa and while Kaizer Motaung played with great distinction for Orlando Pirates before moving to America and then founding Chiefs on his return in 1970, the fans have remained staunch to their respective colours ever since. Pirates go into the match as the only South African side to have won the African Champions League and with the prospect of another shot at the title – and a second star above the club badge – after beating Zamalek 4-1 last weekend.
They play the Egyptian giants again on September 1 behind closed doors in El Gouna, a suitable 430km from the current madness in Cairo. But Pirates manager Roger De Sa will be aware of one fact of soccer life in this country: he can win as many Champions League titles as he likes, but for the fans, victory over Kaizer Chiefs in a Soweto Derby is paramount