Rugby may be all the rage on Saturday, but headlining the soccer action is another Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Stakes are as high as ever as the two giants of SA football do battle in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
While it’s a team game, there will no doubt be a few individuals who will want to make their mark in what is one of the biggest fixtures in the local soccer calender.
Samir Nurkovic – Forward
The Serb has turned out to be one of Chiefs key players in his first few months at the club.
Nurkovic’s confidence will be on the roof after getting on the scoresheet twice against Mamelodi Sundowns in his last outing.
Khama Billiat – Midfielder
Khama Billiat hasn’t been at Chiefs for too long, but he has starred for the club everytime they have met their biggest rivals, even if the team’s results did not quite reflect his input.
He has hit his stride again this season, and will be hoping his impact proves decisive this time around.
Daniel Akpeyi – Goalkeeper
Kaizer Chiefs have missed Itumeleng Khune for the best part of the year, but their goalkeeping issues are not as pronounced as they were earlier.
This after Nigerian international, Daniel Akpeyi assumed first-choice duties, and churning out man-of-the-match performances in what has been a near-perfect start for the club.
Daniel Castro – Striker
The Colombian has found favour from coach Ernst Middendorp through solid performances.
Castro started against Sundowns and is in line for another spot in the playing XI against the club’s biggest rivals.
Thembinkosi Lorch – Midfielder
Form may have deserted Lorch a bit recently, but he has been one of Chiefs’ main tormentors in their lean spell against Pirates.
The winger is slowly rediscovering his feet, and has been on an upward trajectory in the last few weeks.
He could provide a few more worries for Amakhosi in what is a high-stakes encounter between the two sides.
Wayne Sandilands – Goalkeeper
Just like Kaizer Chiefs have a shot-stopper as one of their key men, so do Orlando Pirates who will rely on their veteran gloveman to keep their rivals out.
Sandilands may be in his late 30s, but he has lost none of his agility, which made him one of the best goalkeepers plying their trade in the local top flight.
He was one of the standout players in the Buccaneers’ win over Highlands Park, and will look to carry that form to the quarterfinal against Chiefs.
Tshegofatso Mabasa – Striker
Pirates missed out on silverware last season, and that could somewhat be attributed to leaving a few goals out on the park.
They seem to have found a clinical finisher in 23-year-old Tshegofatso Mabasa, who has five goals in as many starts in his first season at the club.
Linda Mntambo – Midfielder
“Figo” has wormed his way into the starting line-up and is within a fair shot of taking to the field on Saturday.
Mntambo was man-of-the-match in Pirates’ last outing and would want nothing more than to star against Kaizer Chiefs, especially since he grew up in Orlando East.