Phakaaathi editor Jonty Mark and Phakaaathi’s Orlando Pirates expert Tshepo Ntsoelengoe took some time this week to look ahead to Sunday’s DStv Premiership Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The moods at the pre-match press conference couldn’t have been much different, with Pirates boisterous on the back of a ten-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and Kaizer Chiefs head coach Gavin Hunt in a pretty mono-syllabic mood, his side winning just seven of 30 games in all competitions this season.
That abysmal run includes three defeats to Orlando Pirates, with the Buccaneers heavy favourites to triumph again on Sunday, and continue their bid to catch Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the Premiership.
Chiefs’ title chances appear long-since gone, as Amakhosi even face a battle to finish in the top eight this season, with Hunt suffering in the midst of a season-long transfer ban. The Chiefs head coach also keeps hinting at behind-the-scenes problems at Naturena, though he has been cryptic in his comments.
Indications, however, are that all is not well in the Chiefs camp, with Siphelele Ntshangase already released early from his contract, and more to follow.
If Amakhosi can rouse themselves against Pirates, and pull off a win, it would bring welcome respite to the pressure on Hunt, but a more likely scenario is that Pirates will add to Chiefs’ misery, with the Buccaneers’ progress pretty smooth in 2021. The Buccaneers will do well to overhaul Sundowns in the race for the title, but they have already won the MTN8, are in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals and in the Confederation Cup group stages, picking up four points from two matches thus far.
Chiefs, meanwhile, do have four points from three Caf Champions League Group C games, but face an almighty battle to make the quarterfinals, after only.managing a goalless draw at group whipping-boys Petro Atletico.