SOWETO DERBY: Preview & line ups

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As the two Soweto giants – Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs – trot onto the turf of Orlando Stadium on Sunday [17h00], pride will be at stake!

The potentially explosive tie comes as a precursor of the 2021/22 season and offers the two clubs an opportunity to gauge their readiness for the new term.

That being said, both clubs will be keen to win the game for pride’s sake as well as to start on the right footing.

Thulani Hlatshwayo, who will captain the Buccaneers in the absence of the injured Happy Jele, said there was never a “friendly” between the two rivals.

“We’re looking forward to playing the Carling Black Label Cup,” he said during the week. “You may say it’s a game that is during the off-season but between these two teams there is never a friendly game. We’re looking forward to starting the season well.”

The previous season was not an overly successful one for both clubs, but starting off on a winning note will certainly be a boost ahead of the new season.

Even more interesting, fans from either side of the divide have picked the starting XI through votes.

“It feels great and always a pleasure to get as many votes as I got. But that doesn’t mean I have to be complacent. I have to be on top of my game, push, work hard and lead by example. I don’t think the votes give me an advantage over other players.

“We all have to work hard and cement our place in the starting-11 going into the new season or any other season,” said Itumeleng Khune, who will guard goals for Amakhosi.

The Buccaneers are the holders of the Carling Black Label Cup, following a 2-0 victory in the last edition of the competition, thanks to first-half goals from Augustine Mulenga and Thembinkosi Lorch.

Last season, the Carling Cup was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the eight editions played thus far, Bucs have emerged victorious five times while Chiefs have only captured it thrice.

The experienced Ntsikelelo Nyauza will partner Hlatshwayo in defence while Malawian striker Gabadinho Mhango along with attacking midfielders Deon Hotto and Thembinkosi Lorch have been handed the responsibility to get goals.

Besides Jele, Bucs will have to do without Vincent Pule, as well as strikers Tshegofatso Mabasa and Zakhele Lepasa due to injury. Amakhosi, on the other hand, are without Lebogang Manyama.

Starting XIs:

Pirates: Richard Ofori (GK), Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Maela, Wayde Jooste, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Thembinkosi Lorch, Ben Motshwari, Deon Hotto, Fortune Makaringe, Thabang Monare, Gabadinho Mhango.

Chiefs: Itumeleng Khune (GK), Erick Mathoho, Daniel Cardoso, Happy Mashiane, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Lebohang Lesako, Njabulo Blom, Kearyn Baccus, Sabelo Radebe, Samir Nurkovic, Khama Billiat.

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By Mthokozisi Dube