ORLANDO Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs meet in the 57th Soweto derby this weekend. The two South African giants have endured contrasting form in the 2013/14 season.
The hosts were playing catch-up most of the way through due to CAF Champions League commitments, while the visitors have seemingly been running away from all their opponents in the title race.
Log-leaders Amakhosi are 10 points clear of the fourth-placed Buccaneers and here PSL.co.za looks at some of the players that could have the biggest influence in the outcome of their meeting at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Reyaad Pieterse (Kaizer Chiefs)
The stand-in Chiefs goalkeeper had done admirably deputising for the injured Itumeleng Khune in the Champions League when he kept two clean sheets against Mozambique’s Liga Muculmana. But he was in goal for the loss to Platinum Stars in midweek, with many observers likely to point towards the captain’s absence for the defeat, a first in 15 games. And in the face of resurgent Pirates’ attack, he is likely to be under scrutiny once more. His performance could be key.
Lehlohonolo Majoro (Orlando Pirates)
His controversial and sudden departure from Chiefs a matter of weeks ago means that Majoro will have a point to prove. There is no doubting his quality, although he hardly showed glimpses when given a 22-minute run-out as a substitute against Moroka Swallows in midweek. Not many people cross Soweto clubs too often. The Bafana Bafana man will want to show his worth in that respect and that that his pace is still deadly.
Knowledge Musona (Kaizer Chiefs)
Scored a Champions League hat-trick in Maputo over the weekend and the Zimbabwean forward will want to use that as a stepping stone to his league form. He scored six times in 16 games for Amakhosi this season, after an initial slow start. He has a derby double to his name from back in 2010/11, during his first stint at the club. The on-loan Hoffenheim forward will want to make his presence felt in the box and could be the man to unsettle Pieterse.
Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates)
Manyisa is one of only a handful of current Bucs’ players to score in a derby, albeit a cup one, and his experience has become increasingly important to the side. He has played in all, but one, match for the team this season and is also the leading goal-scorer with four goals. He controls the tempo for Pirates and will do so again against Chiefs, who will also need to be wary of his creativity.
Kermit Erasmus (Orlando Pirates)
The man that scored Pirates’ last derby goal, Erasmus netted for the Bucs in the win over Swallows in midweek. He is vital to the Pirates attack with his power and strength in attack particularly key. This at a time when the club is in desperate need of a goal scorer and someone to score more regularly. Only four goals have come from their last seven games. The club needs Erasmus to shine.
Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs)
He may be the form striker in the country, but Parker has scored only once in the derby and he will be desperate to change that poor record. The Bafana Bafana forward was rested in midweek and will be raring to go as he bids to add to his 10 goals already scored this season. His high work-rate and determination are sure to be put the full test.-www.psl.co.za