soweto derby

PSL: Dumisani Zuma – Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs, 15 September 2018 (photo: RealTimeImages RTI)

Soweto Derby: Eight players that could light up the big stage

Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs renew their fierce rivalry in the season’s first Soweto Derby, and there’s a few players who could turn the heat on in the biggest stage.

soweto derby

PSL: Dumisani Zuma – Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs, 15 September 2018 (photo: RealTimeImages RTI)

There’s a lot of local soccer action to look forward to this coming weekend, but a lot of the attention will be at FNB Stadium where Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs renew their fierce rivalry in the season’s first Soweto Derby.

There’s a lot more excitement around this particular edition of this titanic clash, as the two teams did not get the chance to feel each other out in a friendly setting as they often do in pre-season, and the scarcity of cup encounters between the Soweto giants have brought about an extra eagerness from the soccer-loving public.

The supporters have done their bit by selling out the venue with over a week to go before kick off, and it’s now up to Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic and Giovanni Solinas, plus their respective charges to bring about the entertainment the two sets of fans have been yearning for.

There’s a general anticipation that Saturday’s clash could be a classic, and it’s up to the 22 men on the field to ensure that it is the case. We take a look at eight players who could light up the stage in the Soweto Derby.

Orlando Pirates

Vincent Pule

soweto derby
South Africa: Johannesburg: Orlando Pirates Vincent Pule during the Premier Soccer League (PSL) against Cape Town Cityat Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Gauteng.
Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Having had limited opportunity at Bidvest Wits, his name hardly grabbed the headlines when he was unveiled as one of Orlando Pirates’ nine new signings ahead of the current campaign, but he has quickly shown why he was brought on to bolster the already imposing Buccaneers attacking force.

Having been shifted around the park in his first few appearances for his new club, the 26-year-old seems to have found a home on the right, where he’s scored all his four goals which came in his last six games for the club.

Pule marked his return from injury with a goal over the weekend, and there’s no better stage for him to start building goal-scoring momentum than the Soweto Derby.

Xola Mlambo

Xola Mlambo Orlando Pirates

Another player brought into the club after pretty much warming up the bench at Wits, Xola Mlambo has come into his own in his first full season at the Sea Robbers, taking up permanent residence in the starting line-up.

His skill and quick thinking has carved open many a defence, and he could prove a handful for Amakhosi.

Justin Shonga

orlando pirates vs bidvest wits
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 04: Justin Shanga of Orlando Pirates and Sello Motsepe of Highlands Park during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on August 04, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

It will depend on which Justin Shonga turns up on the day, and Orlando Pirates fans will be hoping it’s the one who did duty for Zambia during the recent international break, rather than the one who simply didn’t turn up during the Buccaneers ‘ last league outing against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium.

While the 22-year-old has barely made an impact for his club this season, scoring once in 11 games in all competitions, he has been a measure of consistency for his country, netting in each of their three Afcon 2019 qualifiers played this year.

Micho will be hoping the big stage of the Derby will trigger whatever it is that has had him ticking in national colours.

Ben Motshwari


Orlando Pirates have chopped and changed a fair bit in the beginning stages of this season, but one man who has quickly established himself as a regular is 27-year-old Ben Motshwari.

Even with the return from injury of one of the club’s standout players from the previous season Musa Nyatama, the former Bidvest Wits midfielder has clung on to his starting berth, and produced a man of the match performance in the club’s most recent outing.

Kaizer Chiefs

Itumeleng Khune

The Chiefs keeper is SA’s second-highest paid player (

Kaizer Chiefs have not beaten Orlando Pirates in nine Derbies, but only two of those have ended in victory for the Buccaneers.

One man who has often been the difference between a stalemate and a defeat is Amakhosi’s line of defence, the vastly experienced Itumeleng Khune.

The 31-year-old has been a mainstay in the Naturena-based outfit and, having been given a bit of a rest after the international break, he could just continue doing what he’s done so well in this fixture in the past – denying Pirates fans bragging rights.

Khama Billiat

soweto derby
PSL: Khama Billiat – Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs, 15 September 2018

At present, there are questions over his fitness after missing Chiefs’ Telkom Knockout triumph over Black Leopards due to a back injury but, should he be declared fit to start at FNB Stadium, Orlando Pirates defence will have their work cut out for them.

The Zimbabwean international knows where the net is, and has already racked up five goals in 13 appearances in Kaizer Chiefs colours.

He could mark his first Soweto Derby with a goal or two and, if there was no focus on him earlier in the week, it surely is now after Buccaneers’ assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena’s recent comments on how he ended up in Naturena instead of Houghton.

Siphelele Ntshangase

Also looking to make his mark in his first Soweto Derby is Siphelele Ntshangase, who signed for the Glamour Boys in January this year.

After limited opportunities under Steve Komphela, the former Baroka man has been a permanent fixture in Giovanni Solinas’ starting XIs, where his creative abilities have often been used alongside defensive midfielder Willard Katsande instead of his usual more advanced role.

Dumisani Zuma

soweto derby
PSL: Dumisani Zuma – Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs, 15 September 2018

Another player who is enjoying far more game time than was the case last season is winger Dumisani Zuma, who has had five league starts in the current campaign after starting just twice last time around.

The 23-year-old has established himself as a formidable attacking threat and could pose a problem against an Orlando Pirates side that does a fair bit of its attacking with its fullbacks, leaving its centre-backs vulnerable to counter attacks.