Kaizer Chiefs host Orlando Pirates this Sunday in the 173rd Soweto derby with both teams looking for more than bragging rights in their clash. Chiefs need the pick-me-up result, while Pirates will have their eyes set on rekindling a title race that was beginning to look like a procession for Sundowns.
50 – This will be the 50th league derby between the sides in the PSL era, making it the joint-most played fixture in PSL history. Chiefs have won 13, Pirates 12 while the other 24 have ended in a draw.
Battle Of the Coaches
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer already reached a milestone during the week, marking his 50th Pirates game with his 30th victory, this time over Nigerian giants Enyimba. The German’s 60% win rate is the highest for a Pirates coach in their opening 50 games for the club in the PSL era. But these are mere records.
A win for Pirates will reduce the gap between them and Sundowns to just one point, piling the sort of pressure the defending champions have not been exposed to this season. Although Sundowns still have three games in hand, the old adage goes – “Games in hand are not necessarily points in hand”. Such a big game could not have come at a better time for Pirates, who are enjoying incredible momentum. Pirates are unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions (W8 D2) and have lost just once in the last 15. Can they extend their run?
On the other side of town, Hunt also recently reached a milestone of his own, with the beleaguered coach overseeing his 30th match at Chiefs. With just eight wins to his name, the 27% win rate is less than half of his German counterpart, and confirms what a tough start he has endured. Chiefs have managed just one win in the last 11 games, and the Naturena camp will be more desperate for a win, if only to save their coach’s blushes.
0 – No coach (Pirates or Chiefs) has overseen four successive derby defeats in the PSL era.
3 – Against no other PSL coach has Josef Zinnbauer won more matches than he has against Gavin Hunt (3).
Will There Be Goals?
The derby has been known as a low scoring affair in the past, but we’ve seen many goals in the last few years. Nine of the 10 games between the sides since the start of 2018 have seen over 1.5 goals. But Zinnbauers’s machine is built on a strong defence, and when you also consider that Chiefs have scored less than 1.5 goals in each of their last six league matches, you wonder where the goals could come from.
1 – Pirates have conceded just one goal directly from open play in the last 10 games (all comps), with a penalty and own-goal their other concessions.
While Gavin Hunt can point to a transfer ban for Chiefs’ struggles, Pirates’ can point to one of their latest transfers as one of their key players. Without the ban, it is conceivable that Hotto could have followed his former mentor to Chiefs, and Chiefs would be a different outfit. Deon Hotto has been involved in 16 goals for Pirates in all competition this season (seven goals and nine assists).
4 – Deon Hotto is the only PSL player to score AND assist at least once in four different competitions this season.
Orlando Pirates have momentum on their side against a Kaizer Chiefs side who are in limbo in 11th spot on the PSL table.