25 February 2020, by: Thathe Msimango
Legendary Player Battles in the Soweto Derby
Soweto, once unified against Apartheid will be divided come Saturday 29 February 2019 as Kaizer Chiefs do battle against Orlando Pirates at the iconic 94 000-seater FNB Stadium. The derby enters its fifth decade this year and has grown into one of the most exciting fixtures in the footballing world. But without players fans would have not invested their time to watch this popular match, I take a look at some of the famous player battles we’ve witnessed over the years.
BET: SOWETO DERBYAsk any supporter about an interesting Soweto Derby players battle and most would point out Sikhosana v Baloyi. The Former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Baloyi is one best goalkeeper this country has ever produced; however, there was one striker who gave “Spiderman” nightmares – Jerry Sikhosana.
“Legs of Thunder”, as he was affectionately known, was a troublemaker to the Chiefs defence. In the 1996 Bob Save Super Bowl, Skhosana put on a masterclass as his hattrick gave Chiefs a 4-1 thrashing. In total, Sikhosana managed to find the back of the net seven times in the Soweto derby, definitely a man for the big occasion.
READ: IS PIRATES REVRUITMENT WORKING?Former Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates defender Papi Khomane always had to work tirelessly in derbies because he had the daunting task of stopping the potent Pollen Ndlanya.
The 1998 Rothmans Cup (now known as the Telkom Knockout) semi-finals is where their battle was born. In the first leg, Ndlanya showed his quality and composure scoring a brace to come up on top in the battle which sent Amakhosi into the final, winning 3-2 on aggregate crosstown rivals. That match still remains a vivid memory in fans’ minds today.
BET: SOWETO DERBYZambian Collins Mbesuma was a beast, lethal in front of goals during his time at Chiefs. “Ntofontofo”, as commonly known scored a record-breaking 34 goals in all competition, in the 2004/05 season. Despite enjoying such a great goalscoring season, he failed to score against Pirates due to being man marked by Chabalala.
In the first Soweto Derby of 2004/05 season, Benedict Vilakazi and Gift Leremi were both on the scoresheet for Pirates as Arthur Zwane scored a consolation goal for Chiefs. Even in return fixture, Mbesuma failed to set sparks as the late Scara Ngobese salvaged a point for Amakhosi after Vilakazi scored for the Buccaneers. The Limpopo born defender allowed the bulky Zambian marksman no time on the ball and consequently came out on top in their battle.