Cape Town – It is said that the Soweto Derby is the most important match in the history of South African football, and fans across the continent are braced for the latest instalment at the iconic FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The occasion marks the second semi-final of the revamped Carling Black Label Cup and will be the second of four clashes in the all- day football festival (starting noon).
In the pipe-opener, AmaZulu and Mamelodi Sundowns clash in the first semi-final (9.30am).
A third- place penalty shoot- out will follow the Soweto Derby, and the day ends with the final, played by the two semi-final victors. The winner of the 2022 Carling Black Label Cup will walk away with R1 million.
Carling Black Label brand director Arne Rust painted a picture that suggests the outcome of the tournament is very much a lottery.
“I think the competitiveness of the teams at the moment means we have so many winners in there,” said Rust.
“We’ve got Chiefs coming off a win in the Soweto Derby, and we’ve got the Buccaneers who’ve just won their first trophy (MTN8) in a while.
“We’ve got AmaZulu on the up and Sundowns, who are just a class act no matter where you put them.
“So, you’ve got four winning teams, and there can only be one winner, so this will be epic football.
“I think this is going to be one for the books.”
The two fierce rivals will be fighting it out for a spot in the final, and the winner will take on the triumphant side from the semi between Sundowns and AmaZulu earlier in the day.
Pirates will be the form side going into the match and just seven days ago they hoisted the MTN 8 trophy, following their 1-0 triumph over AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Chiefs were last in action two weeks ago in the recent Soweto Derby victory, and their break between fixtures could work in their favour ahead of what is set to be a testing day of football.
It required a wonder goal by Yusuf Maart to decide the winner in a typically fiercely contested Soweto Derby.
On Saturday, he will again anchor Chiefs’ midfield and he’ll be flanked by Njabulo Blom and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo.
The four-man midfield will include industrious Kgaogelo Sekgota who will play out wide on the right flank. Sekgota’s electrifying pace brings an extra dimension to the Chiefs’ attack.
The midfield battle could be decisive, and Pirates will have their workhorses spread across the park to contain the opposition’s threat.
Fortune Makaringe will return to the Pirates XI as will Miguel Timm who was suspended for the last Soweto Derby.
Makaringe brings an attacking edge to the side’s engine room and Timm who picked up the Man of the Match award in the MTN8 final last week is rock solid in front of the team’s rearguard.
He has an eye for attacking opportunities and has an educated pass.
Since the players have been selected by the fan vote, Chiefs followers have gone for the tried and tested, with Keagan Dolly paired with his established partner Khama Billiat in attack.
A week after the MTN8 conquest, Pirates’ coach Jose Riveiro is in the running for a second piece of silverware in as many weeks.