Friday Feb 24, 2023. 11:00
The weekend’s DStv Premiership action has one stand out fixture: the Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Widely agreed to be South African football’s biggest match, the meeting of the Amakhosi and the Buccaneers at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon will not have any relevance to the title (that will be won by runaway leaders Mamelodi Sundowns), but is a key fixture in the battle to end as runners-up and secure a spot in next season’s CAF Champions League.
Third-placed Pirates and fifth-placed Chiefs are very much in the race for second spot, alongside the likes of SuperSport United and Richards Bay, making this as much a six-pointer in a crucial league race as it is about bragging rights.
The bad news for Chiefs is that they have been in rotten form, winning just once in their last six league outings and suffering a surprise 3-2 loss to Golden Arrows last weekend. Captain Itumeleng Khune has called for patience and understanding, but time may be running short for coach Arthur Zwane.
“We understand Kaizer Chiefs is not the club to wait [for a long time to win titles] – you have to play every match to win and challenge for the silverware,” said the goalkeeper.
“But when you have players who are new in the set-up it becomes our responsibility as leaders and players who have been there to guide them. It’s never easy and it won’t take just one game to turn things around. It will take quite some time.”
The weekend’s action gets underway on Friday evening with SuperSport looking to strengthen their grip on second spot with a home win over Maritzburg United, while Saturday (after the Soweto derby) sees Western Cape sides Stellenbosch FC and Cape Town City face tricky away games against Richards Bay and Sekhukhune United respectively.
Saturday wraps up with a night clash between Durban rivals AmaZulu and Royal AM at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, while Sunday’s lone game sees Chippa United tackle Swallows FC at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha.
AmaZulu coach Romain Folz will be looking for a major improvement in his side’s attacking prowess compared to their limp 2-1 loss to TS Galaxy last weekend.
“We find ourselves in situations where we could be dangerous but we can’t finish because of a lack of technical quality very often,” said the young tactician. “Whether it’s finishing directly or the last pass before the finish, it’s only on us so we cannot blame anyone but ourselves for that.”
DStv Premiership weekend fixtures
Friday 24 February
19:30: SuperSport United v Maritzburg United
Saturday 25 February
15:30: Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates
17:30: Sekhukhune United v Cape Town City
17:30: Richards Bay v Stellenbosch FC
20:00: AmaZulu v Royal AM
Sunday 26 February
15:30: Chippa United v Swallows FC