This weekend you can surely hear a pin drop as pure football madness will engulf the FNB Stadium outside Soweto township.
It’s the biggest football match in the Premier Soccer League calendar as the two perennial giants Chiefs and Pirates clash for third time this season in the ‘Soweto Derby’.
The fixture has many bearings on the league championship race and the sold-out banner was raised long before Tito Mboweni (Finance Minister) could pronounce on budget speech in Parliament.
The FARPost Technical Study Group takes a brighter look at this massive spectacle and seek to enlighten you our readers about the technical-tactical suspense associated with this game.
1. Consistency v Jitters
The ‘Sea Robbers’ enter the fighting arena buoyant by a super record of six straight wins in the league and a team gelling at the right stage and time in the title chase.
Pirates have been consistent in their team selection, tactical approach and preferred system of play. Their coach Josef Zinnbauer has maintained a swift 1-4-2-3-1 dominant offensive style that keeps the opponents troubled by fluid inter-passing at an incredible velocity.
As for ‘Amakhosi’ their performance has been preoccupied with obvious ineptness, uneasiness and somewhat confusing outlook. Since their dull encounter against Royal Eagles in the Nedbank Cup Last-32 and subsequent losses to Maritzburg United and Highlands Park, the team has been far from convincing.
Jitters (feelings of extreme nervousness) has glaringly crept in with the Coach Ernst Middendorp. The Coach has been undecided on the midfield combination, tactical strategy and selection conundrum.
2. Goals galore
This season’s derby comes at a time when the goals pump has been systematically opened. Gabadinho Mhango, Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro have been in terrific form and vying for the elusive Lesley Manyathela Top Goalscorers Award.
Mhango has 14 goals, 1 assist from 19 matches and his movements, acceleration and finishing will be detrimental to a jittery Chiefs defense.
Castro has been lethal against Pirates in the last encounter between the two teams, he posses an aerial threat, supreme finishing and a sly touch around the penalty box.
Nurkovic’s class, physical brutality and overall goal scoring niche makes him a deadly marksman from the key specific phases of the game (attack, set-play and offensive transition).
3. Tactical factor
This game will surely be won from the tactical planning, execution and implementation by both technical benches.
Both teams are blessed with roving, overlapping and classy fullbacks (Innocent Maela, Abel Mabaso, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Reeve Frosler) that enjoys the invitation to you overload the attacking third, play penetrative passes and deliver telling crosses into the box. How both formations will be suitable to permit these modern fullbacks to attack and manage the spaces left behind will be very imperative.
Chiefs have to stay alert in the semi and full intermediate midfield zone to track, police and nullify the interlinking movements of Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule and Luvuyo Memela.
On the other side, Chiefs have been efficient in bypassing the 1st and 2nd phase of their build-up, encroaching the attacking 3rd quickly with a mixture of forward and diagonal balls aimed at the trio of Castro, Nurkovic and Khama Billiat.
Hence Pirates must stop the evident long-ball supply chain procurement and the set-play offensive structure that has been fruitful for Chiefs.
This tie is pierced strategically between the matches that involves Pirates, Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, the winner on Saturday will either set the cat amongst the pigeons or cement a tight grip on this PSL title.
By FARPost Reporters