The battle lines have been drawn.
The battle lines between the two German coaches in the elite league have been drawn. They will clash for the first time in the Soweto derby on Saturday at the Calabash (3.30pm kick-off). Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp heads into this much-anticipated derby hoping to lead his charges to full points that could very well show their intent of hanging on to the No 1 spot in the Premiership standings for the remainder of the season. Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer, meanwhile, has impressively steered the Sea Robbers’ ship to third spot in the log standings, since taking over in December, something that has given “The Ghost” opportunity to dare to dream that they can win the Premiership title in May. Football analyst Farouk Khan, spoke with
sports writer Mihlali Baleka,
comparing the impact that the two German coaches at the head of Chiefs and Pirates might have ahead of this top of the table clash between the Soweto giants:
They are both professional coaches, who’ve done well so far. Middendorp has ensured that Chiefs remained top of the table standings for the better part of the season. Zinnbauer, on the other hand, has helped the team to start winning again.
Both coaches should ensure that the players are psychologically prepared because I don’t think tactics are really important at this stage of the season, especially going into a match such as the derby.
Players will have to rise to the occasion, and coaches have to get behind them – uplift their confidence so that they are able to deliver on the day.
The technical team of Pirates should ensure that Chiefs do not play balls into their half because that will put them under a lot of pressure. Samir Nurkovic is able to control play upfront and we’ve also seen how dangerous he is on set pieces. I think that will also need Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands to be on his best on the day.
Chiefs’ defence have also done well this season but they’ve struggled to deal with pace, something that can benefit Gabadinho Mhango who’s been causing a lot of havoc recently. But it will depend on how they use the threat on the day.
I don’t think the derby experience will count for anything, but the best prepared team will be the one that comes out tops.
Pirates have been playing for coach and the badge recently. Chiefs, on the other hand, are playing to win the league. And I think if Chiefs doesn’t win it, this will be their most disappointing season, overshadowing the last few campaigns where they won nothing as well.