Ahead of Saturday’s all-important Soweto derby, the big question for Chiefs revolves around the injury status of two key players, Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana and Itumeleng Khune, with the availability of the duo in doubt.
Chiefs are currently preparing to take on their longtime rivals, Orlando Pirates, on Saturday when will they face their Soweto neighbours for the first time this season in a DStv Premiership match at the FNB Stadium. Kick off is at 15:30
The game will be televised on SuperSport DStv Channel 202 and SABC, while it will be comprehensively covered right here at TheSouthAfrican.
At a press conference on Thursday, Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane understandably kept his cards close to his chest when discussing the injury status of both Bimenyimana and Khune.
“At the moment, we’re trying to look at how we can approach this game,” Zwane said during the pre-match press conference, as quoted by the kosibay news.
“Yes, we came into this week with a lot of knocks here and there. We’ll see who is available and who is not available. Tomorrow we will get the report from the medical team as to who is ready for Saturday.”
Some things are somewhat out of the control of Chiefs, but they will be desperately hoping that key striker Bimenyimana overcomes his injury issue, and then is able to rediscover a spark in front of goal.
Bimenyimana passed a late fitness test to be available for last weekend’s MTN8 clash against AmaZulu, but had to be replaced during the second half after seemingly struggling with an injury recurrence.
Chiefs will also be praying to the football gods in hope that Khune can return to the team to provide leadership and experience for such a big game.
Khune has missed the last couple of games due to a niggling injury, and may still be on the sidelines by the time this crucial derby rolls around.
The veteran keeper has played in 27 derbies, but last featured in this blockbuster fixture way back in November 2018.
Here are some interesting facts and figures ahead of this blockbuster Chiefs-Pirates match:
Chiefs head into the game on the back of three successive league wins over Orlando Pirates. They have also won five of their last six league meetings against them. Chiefs have gone onto win their last three league games against the Buccaneers. Amakhosi are aiming to win four league games in a row against Pirates for the first time since completing back-to-back league doubles over Pirates in 1991 and 1992. Prior to Chiefs’ recent dominance over Pirates, Amakhosi did endure a lean spell against their arch-rivals, which saw them go nine league games without a win between March 2017 and February 2019 (D6 L3). Having turned the tide in recent times, Chiefs, who will be facing Pirates in a league game for the 103rd time, will be aiming for their 44th victory since their first meeting in a league game in 1971. Chiefs have 43 league wins over Pirates while 36 games have been drawn and Pirates have won 23 of them. While there have been many draws in the past, the last six games between the teams in league action have produced a winner, the longest run of league games in the PSL era with a winner between the teams. Should this game produce a winner it will be the first time since the teams’ second league meeting in 1989 until their first league clash in 1993 which ended 0-0, that seven successive games would produce a winner. In that run in the 1980s and 1990s, Chiefs won six games and lost one, which was a 5-1 defeat their heaviest league loss to Pirates, on the 3rd November 1990. The teams have faced each other 52 times in league games in the PSL era, with Amakhosi again leading the head-to-head with 16 wins to Pirates’ 12, while there have been 24 draws. The teams will also be facing off at the FNB Stadium which, since its renovation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has hosted 22 league derbies between Pirates and Chiefs, with Amakhosi holding sway, winning eight of these games to Pirates’ four. The remaining 10 matches have ended in draws. Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane played in some epic games against Pirates in the past – including scoring Chiefs second goal in a thrilling 2-2 draw in November 2007 in Durban. That game produced the fastest goal in Soweto derby history when Mabhuthi Khenyeza scored Chiefs ‘opener after just 19 seconds. Get ready for the 176th edition of this historical tale as the teams gear up to face off in what will be another exciting chapter in this storied rivalry