It was a BIG game over the weekend; form is thrown out of the window for the Soweto derby. Let us quickly highlight the key performances of the two teams.
Chiefs came into the encounter on position 4 after 19 games on 34 points. Pirates came into the encounter on position 10 after 18 on 21 points. Chiefs were the side in better form, having won 5 games and drawn 1. Pirates came into the game without a win in the last game. Looking at the history of the derby, the struggling team coming into the game usually wins the derby. In this case, we would have predicted a win for the Buccaneers.
Looking into the Pirates camp; The coach is very flamboyant, he reminds me a bit of Kostadin “Bill Clinton” Papic. He has that thing.
Looking at the line up, he kept Brighton Mhlongo in goals; I was not surprised as he did well in the last game. Coming to the game, I thought Mhlongo had one of his best games. His handling, positioning and the way he manned his area was brilliant. He also had one of the most decisive moments in the game. As for me, the moment of the game was when he saved Willard Katsande’s penalty.
At the back, the coach kept the same back four. It was good because that is the way to stabilize the back. You don’t chop and change every weekend or every game. Coach. Kjell Jonevret selected Phungwayo at leftback, Nyauza at rightback, Jele and Gcaba continued as the center back pairing. Malongwane from Chiefs caused problems for the defense with his pace, trickery and movement. Malongwane eventually got the opener after a brilliant individual run from Siphiwe “Shabba” Tshabalala, who combined with Bernard Parker, and provided the final ball for Joseph Molangoane who scored the opener. The only confusion of the game was between the defense and the midfielders really, because they allowed Shabba to run for about 10-15 meters unmarked. Abbubaker Mobara and Oupa Manyisa should not have allowed a player to run all the way from midfield to their defense with no pressure on him, especially an experienced player like Shabba. It was a brilliant counter move against the run of play from Chiefs, and coming to the game, I knew the transition ball and the standard situations would cause the most threat for the Buccaneers.
But from there, they looked good and better organized at the back. In midfield, Thembinkosi Lorch came in for Memela who dropped to the bench; Manyisa and Mobara were paired at central midfield and Mpho Makola played the half wing. Lorch had a good game; he was involved, he did not lose the ball easily when he had possession. However, his decision making with the final ball needs to improve. Lorch had the effort at goal which resulted in Tsepo Masilela’s slight touch deflecting past Itumeleng Khune to make it 1 all. Makola came in and out of the game. I’m telling you in the first half, I saw glimpses of the old Ace Manyisa; he is coming back. He had moments where he was slowing the tempo of the game down, played the quick ball to the wingers, and was the link between the defense and attack; I saw the hard working captain my captain. Mobara ran his socks off; what a workaholic! He destroyed everything in midfield; he is the reason we never saw George Maluleka from Chiefs, who ended up been substituted. Mobara goes about his business quietly in midfield, and his role is very important to the team. When in possession of the ball, he doesn’t lose the ball easily; what a professional.
Upfront what a surprise! There was no Tendai Ndoro; the man on 12 goals in all competitions. The coach went for Gabuza and Dove “V-Power” Wome. The reason Kjell started with Gabuza is that he wanted a striker with presence; someone that will stay in the box at all times; someone who can play with their back to the goal, hold up play and with aerial presence, and can help on the defensive play; that man is Gabuza. As for Dove, I call him V-Power he is intelligent, in and around the box, can create chances to score for himself and teammates around him. Wome was unlucky not to score in the first 10 minutes of the game. His V-Power stuff is what the Sea Robbers wanted I would have kept him on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes because wth him on the pitch anything can happen. Ndoro came on the last 25 minutes, besides his side net miss, I remember the the moment that led to the penalty, Ndoro was suppose to play the ball wide to Nyauza who was unmarked on the right, he didn’t . Then Chiefs won the ball hitting Pirates on the counter using the space that Nyauza left at right back. Tactical it was a blunder from Ndoro because once the fullback goes and you don’t give him the ball, rule number 1 you can’t lose the ball. Overall, it was an entertaining derby with lots of chances, someone will say but it’s a draw. Yes, but an entertaining draw.