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Soweto Derby – Players To Watch

The highly anticipated Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs is set for this Saturday afternoon, igniting the passions of football fans across South Africa

Soweto Derby

The highly anticipated Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs is set for this Saturday afternoon, igniting the passions of football fans across South Africa. While Orlando Pirates will enjoy home advantage, the fact that they are coming off a 1-1 draw against bottom Cape Town Spurs on Wednesday evening may add extra pressure for the team. Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs secured a 1-0 victory over Golden Arrows at home in their last match before this fixture and will be hoping to build on that this weekend.

Both teams come into the derby with contrasting results, the key question remains: which players can take charge of the “pivotal moments” in this match? Laduma Analytics identified key players to watch on both sides.

Orlando Pirates

Both teams need the win, but there is an argument to be made that Pirates need the result more, given the disappointment of their last result. Coming up against a Chiefs team with a decent defensive record, we’ve chosen three attacking players whose performances could be crucial in swinging the game one way.

Evidence Makgopa

Evidence Makgopa had a breakout tournament at the recently ended Africa Cup of Nations, leading the line with panache and confidence that surprised even the best players on the continent. At the tournament, he showed his aerial prowess, powerful shooting, and good movement in the box. These are qualities that Orlando Pirates need of late, including the use of his physicality to hold up the ball and create opportunities for himself and his teammates. Yet, he needs to translate that onto the domestic front and what better stage to do so than the Soweto derby? He has 5 goals in the last 11 appearances, showing decent efficiency in front of goal.

Relebohile Mofokeng

The young forward’s versatility could be a key decider in the derby. He is comfortable playing anywhere across the front line, and that offered tactical flexibility to coach Jose Riveiro should he need it on the day. The goal he scored during the week highlights a player high in confidence, and nothing could be more exciting for a young player than an impressive derby performance. The youngster has started and completed just two games all season but leads all Pirates players for big chances created this season with four. His youthful exuberance could be the surprise factor that Pirates need.

Patrick Maswanganyi

Primarily an attacking midfielder, Maswanganyi can also play as a right-sided attacking midfielder or even a winger, offering versatility to coach Jose Riveiro. Known for his creativity, dribbling ability, and passing skills, he plays a crucial role in initiating attacks and linking up with the forwards. He has scored four goal contributions this campaign (three goals and one assist) and could be a decisive factor in the derby should he click on the day.

Kaizer Chiefs

For Chiefs, the lack of goals has been the story in recent weeks. 17 goals in 19 games is their joint-lowest total in PSL history (they had 17 also at this stage in 2017/18). We chose three key players to look out for on their side.

Yusuf Maart

Maart offers his team a variety of skills in midfield, capable of playing in various positions including central and defensive midfield. One of Maart’s natural abilities and what brought him to AmaKhosi was his good passing ability and maintaining possession in the midfield. His three assists this season may have gone somewhat unnoticed but that makes him the outright leader for Chiefs in that department. Not only that, Maart has created the most chances (18) and the biggest chances created (3). In addition to the guaranteed work rate and energy he’ll bring, his offensive qualities listed here are what may be important for Chiefs against their rivals this Saturday.

Ashley Du Preez

Ashley Du Preez has endured a mixed campaign this season, with just one league goal to show for almost 1000 minutes on the field. Yet, even without the goals, his speed and agility have ensured he is a constant menace for defenders. No Chiefs player has more successful dribbles per 90 minutes than du Preez (1.6 per game). Indeed, only Maart has created more chances than him (16 to 17), although Maart has played 700 minutes more. Du Preez also has the knack of being in the right place at the right time, but there’s work to be done on the end product (no Chiefs player has missed more big chances than his 4). He could be decisive should he have his shooting boots on.

Bruce Bvuma

Rounding off key players for Chiefs is a goalkeeper this time, Bruce Bvuma. For different reasons, Chiefs have used three goalkeepers interchangeably all season, but Bvuma seems to have got the nod of late. For all the faults at Chiefs, one thing that seems to be working in their favour is a strong defensive foundation. Six clean sheets in seven games will be a confidence booster for Bvuma ahead of the tie, but even he knows that a performance in the big one could cement his place as Chief’s Number 1 until the end of the season. Alternatively, a bad outing could have opposing effects.

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