Fourth placed Orlando Pirates FC is to come up against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs FC in their first encounter of 2015 on the 07th of March at the FNB stadium. Herewith Obzeva’s pre-match analysis called – Pick of the Week, for your reading pleasure.
When Chipa Moloi scored the first goal in the Soweto derby in January 1970. By so doing he set off an epic clash between these two teams which inevitably punctuates the South African football calendar season after season. And for those who have had the privilege of witnessing this glorious spectacle, they will also know that at a time like this, when the log looks the way it does you can throw away the history books. However in recent history their last ten encounters since February 2010 have seen Kaizer Chiefs FC dominating proceedings with the following head to head results:
Kaizer Chiefs 4 wins Orlando Pirates 1 wins Draw 5
As the nation fix their eyes on the football Mecca that is the FNB stadium, Kaizer Chiefs FC will go into this encounter as favourites having won the last three derbies (if you include the MTN 8 final earlier this season), however the Amakhosi are steadily finding their feet in 2015 as they wrap their mind around continental competition. The recent loss against Supersport United FC marked the end of a 19 match unbeaten run for Kaizer Chiefs FC. This result was described as “a blessing in disguise for Kaizer Chiefs FC” by coach Baxter since it wiped away the player’s fixation with the unbeaten run record, so they can put their focus on the job at hand.
The log leaders are tracking at a point conversion ratio of 79% with 50 points collected out of 63 in twenty-one matches (7% higher than the record breaking 72% achieved by Mamelodi Sundowns FC last season). Orlando Pirates FC with 10 wins, 6 draws and 5 loses are converting at 57% of their points with only 36 points out of 63 after the same number of matches. And Wednesday night’s draw against Free State Stars FC widend the gap by 14 points behind the log leaders. In fact if you compare Kaizer Chiefs FC results of 86% wins against common opponents, with Orlando Pirates FC’ 65 % the number certainly count against the Buccaneers.
However, consider this.
In the home and away table Kaizer Chiefs FC has the 1th place, while Orlando Pirates FC has shown less constancy playing at home by placing 5th in the home table but 2nd in the away table (bear in mind that this is an away game for Orlando Pirates FC).
It also important to note that this is a clash between the league’s best attacking team in Orlando Pirates FC against the team with the best defensive record in Kaizer Chiefs FC.
A major talking point I have heard bandied about, is that of the Goalkeeper for Kaizer Chiefs FC in this match. This after the blind siding choice made by Baxter against Ajax Cape Town FC when he fielded Khune and not Khuzwayo, as has been the case in the PSL. But I am incredulous.
The fact is this if you have that much talent in the goalkeeping department, you can just as well flip a coin to select a keeper and it shouldn’t be an issue. In my mind the biggest question, is the availability of Yeye Letsholonyane. If you have watched Chiefs lately, you will have seen that when Yeye plays, Kaizer Chiefs FC plays. And when Yeye doesn’t play, they tend to struggle on transition. Letsholonyane is reported to have picked up an ankle injury, which puts him in doubt for Saturday’s game. Apparently the technical team is waiting for a medical report.
For Orlando Pirates FC, Lehlohonolo Majoro will become available for this encounter after serving out his red card suspension, which he received in the match against Platinum Stars FC.
The question is which set up will Eric Tinkler employ now that Majoro is available? The reality is with Majoro on the pitch Orlando Pirates FC can play with one striker, simply because as a lone striker, Majoro has proved deadly with his diagonal runs. But while he was on red card, the Buccaneers have been successfully using the 4-4-2 with Bacela reintroduced up front after some battles with injury. So the question begs which Orlando Pirates is Baxter preparing for? I don’t know either.
What I do know is that should Majoro play and score a goal, he will be adding his name on an exclusive list of players who have played and scored goals for both sides in a Soweto derby. That list included Donald Khuse, Marks Maponyane, Mark Bachelor, Gabriel Khoza and Blessing Ngidi.
Based on the comparison, there is a reasonable expected advantage for Kaizer Chiefs FC to win this match, although in recent form has shown Orlando Pirates FC to be quite stubborn opposition when playing away on Soweto derby. Therefore a reasonable expectation would be to peg this match to end on a lovely draw.