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‘Die Hond’ keen to take a bite out of Bucs

Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker. Picture: Carl Fourie

For the uninitiated, the nickname ‘Die Hond’ goes back many years when as a boy Bernard parker played soccer in the streets of Boksburg. He excelled and was referred to as the ‘top dog’.

THE ADAGE goes “every dog has its day” and tomorrow Kaizer Chiefs midfielder-cum striker Bernard Parker, aka “Die Hond”, hopes it will be his on hostile territory at Orlando Stadium.

Parker had a glorious introduction to Soweto derbies at the fabled FNB Stadium in September 2011 when he helped Chiefs to a 2-0 win over traditional rivals Orlando Pirates. It was Parker’s first Soweto derby. Eleven years later, he has not lost his appetite for the match that after many decades, remains the blue riband game of South African football.

For the uninitiated, the nickname “Die Hond” goes back many years when as a boy he played soccer in the streets of Boksburg. He excelled and was referred to as the “top dog”. Over time the Afrikaans speaking boys nicknamed him, “Die Hond” (The Dog), and the name stuck ever since.

Nowadays Parker, when he is fit to play, is the captain of Amakhosi, and as the “top dog” he is not shy to bark orders on the field. A few months ago he famously snarled a mouthful of expletives at teammate Samir Nurkovic when he objected to the latter’s move at a set-piece, much to the shock of television viewers.

Last week, Parker was sidelined by injury and watched the Baroka FC match from the stands. He is back to full fitness and will be in the matchday squad. If he makes it onto the field of play, it would be his 30th Soweto derby overall (Premiership and Cup) and his 21st in league matches.

“Yes, I am happy to be back and always ready to play in these types of games. We live for these games – you want to be involved in this game because it is one of the biggest derbies on the continent. It is always an honour to play in this match,” Parker said.

“I feel good and refreshed and can’t wait to be on the field again, given the chance.”

Parker’s former teammate Siphiwe Tshabalala holds the Chiefs record for the most Soweto derby appearances. His mark stands at 31 overall and 22 in the league. Parker, by the end of Saturday, could be left trailing by one match on both counts if he makes it onto the field.

“I am very proud to reach such a milestone,” said veteran Parker, whose contract expires in a few months.

“It is always with joy and a host of other good emotions that I look ahead to this game. The build-up, the hype, the talk, the history … it’s an exciting feeling.”

Parker’s current teammate Khama Billiat also knows a thing or two about the Soweto derby. Since moving from Mamelodi Sundowns, Billiat has already played 17 league encounters against Pirates.

“It is a big game, but I always want to play the game – and not the occasion – and not get carried away,” said Billiat.

“We are old enough to not let little things affect the outcome of the game. We want to be professional about the game. We want to enjoy it and win it.

“I feel we can only do well if we concentrate on our game.

“If we follow the instructions and go into the game with the correct state of mind, how we train and how the week goes will also determine how well we do.”

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