Bernard Parker v Kermit Erasmus
Bernard Parker bounced back into form this week with a couple of very well taken goals as Kaizer Chiefs warmed up for the derby by thumping Bidvest Wits. With Kingston Nkhatha still battling to find any sort of confidence in front of goal, Parker should be Amakhosi’s main striking threat again against Pirates. Kermit Erasmus also scored in midweek, his first league goal since the end of August, but Pirates still lost to Maritzburg United and coach Vladimir Vermezovic exited stage left the very next day. Can Eric Tinkler now get the best out of his striker, starting in Saturday’s derby?
Reneilwe Letsholonyane v Oupa Manyisa
‘Yeye’ has been in superb form for Kaizer Chiefs this season, and was singled out for praise again by Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter this week. “When you look at players at the end of a game, you ask ‘did he affect the game’. And Yeye certainly affects the game, arriving in the box and threatening the backline allows Bernard Parker to get in between defenders and it is a big factor for us,” said Baxter. This has also been borne out in the fact that Yeye has seven goals for Chiefs already this season. Manyisa is Pirates’ key box-to-box midfielder, even used as a second striker in his time at the Buccaneers. And Manyisa has netted four times from midfield this campaign though he has not been quite as effective as in previous seasons.
Brilliant Khuzwayo v Brighton Mhlongo
Kaizer Chiefs’ young goalkeeper is living up to his first name with some stellar performances for Amakhosi of late. His form is such that he is even keeping Amakhosi captain Itumeleng Khune out of the side heading into the derby. Chiefs’ extraordinary defence this season has been unaffected by the injury to Khune, so reliable has Khuzwayo been since coming in, with six clean sheets in ten appearances this season. Mhlongo, meanwhile, has had the impossible task of replacing Senzo Meyiwa, so tragically murdered at the end of October. It must have been extremely difficult for Mhlongo to deal with losing his friend, mentor and teammate, as well as take responsibility for guarding the Buccaneers posts. Mhlongo has largely done well, however, with the poor defending in front of him more of a worry for Tinkler heading into this game.
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