Soweto Football Giants in Formation

My ball my ball…Kaizer Chiefs’ Bernard Parker and Issa Sar (Orlando Pirates) battle for the ball possession in one of the Soweto Derby matches.

THE 2017 Carling Black Label Champion Cup has given Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates fans much more to think about this year ahead of the showpiece clash scheduled for 29 July at FNB Stadium.

Aside from selecting their starting line-up, Champion Coaches have also had to choose the formation they believe will give their team the best chance of victory. There are many factors to consider, not least which formation best suits the particular attributes of the players in each squad.

Farouk Khan is recognised as one of the most astute and respected coaches in South Africa, developing top names for Bafana Bafana through his Stars of African Academy. Current Kaizer Chiefs left-back Sibusiso Khumalo and former Orlando Pirates forward Tokelo Rantie are two of the many players he has groomed during the course of his career.

Khan believes that while formations are obviously vital for coaches in terms of setting up how they want to play, they are not effective unless you have the right players for each specific position, and that is something Champion Coaches should think about.

Furthermore, Khan believes that 4-3-3, which has become popular throughout the world, is best used when you have quick wingers. Only a handful of South African teams tend to play this formation, current Absa Premiership Champions BidVest Wits being one, and it is not usually adopted by Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates.

Chiefs and Pirates both tend to play a 4-2-3-1, or slight modification thereof.

“This requires two strong holding midfielders, but one to go a bit further forward and another to shield the backline. It allows for quick transitions and that is why it is popular,” Khan says.

“So in the case of Chiefs, you have a Willard Katsande to break up the play and, say, George Maluleka who also plays that anchor role, but joins the attack more. For Pirates it is similar, though they have been a little less adventurous. Issa Sarr and Abbubaker Mobara tend to sit in front of the defence more.”

This system allows both teams to have their attacking players join the lone striker when they have the ball.

“Chiefs have changed their striker in recent games, they can play Bernard Parker or Gustavo Paez, but then they have attacking threat from Siphiwe Tshabalala, George Lebese and one of William Twala, Joseph Molangoane and Hendrik Ekstein to join the attack. All are very skill-full players.

“Pirates are the same, they have either Tendai Ndoro or Thamsanqa Gabuza up front. But sitting behind them three attacking midfielders – Oupa Manyisa, Thabo Rakhale and then a guy like Luvoyo Memela or Riyaad Norodien.”

But Khan still believes 4-4-2 is the best formation in terms of a balance between attack and defence.

4-4-2 is the most balanced system because at any given time you have the whole field covered. You then have an out-and-out striker as a focal point for attacks, and a false striker who plays behind him as a link man.”

Khan also cautions against more risky formations such as 3-5-2, where you need players with a particular skill-set to pull it off.

“Playing three at the back is always risky. Chelsea pulled it off this year because they have players with the physicality and speed. Not all teams have that. I don’t think it would suit Chiefs or Pirates.”

The four (4) formations provided to the fans in the 2017 Carling Black Label Champion Cup are:  the oldest but still in regular use 4-4-2, giving both attacking & defensive balance. The offensive 3-5-2 & 3-4-3, placing more players up the pitch for high pressure football and the most popular attacking formation in modern football 4-3-3, leaving enough cover at the back for possible counter-attacks.

Potential consumers who are over the age of 18 can stand a chance of winning the same Carling Black Label Champion Cup match day experience where two lucky fans will join their favourite team in training, sit in the pre-match briefing and be part of the technical set-up on match day.

They can do so by purchasing a Carling Black Label beer and dialing *120*660*. They then enter their unique underliner code and then#.  Entry is FREE on USSD or they can go to

Ticket sales for the 2017 showpiece have opened and are available at Computicket in Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide, or at <> . Unreserved seating on Level 5 at R70-00; Level 1 at R100-00 and reserved seating on Level 2 at R170-00.

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