Soweto Derby reaches fever pitch

Soweto giants are ready to entertain thousands of soccer lovers at Soccer City on Saturday.

Soweto giants are ready to entertain soccer lovers at FNB Stadium. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The stage is set for one of the biggest rivalries in world football. Kaizer Chiefs will play Orlando Pirates in front of a sold out FNB Stadium at 3:30pm on Saturday.

The game will be beamed live around the world to 19 countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

With Amakhosi leading the ABSA Premiership log and the Buccaneers just three points behind, there is much at stake.

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter on Friday said his side would have to re-adjust the way they played, saying he knew the Buccaneers had studied them very closely.

But he said his side would not deviate much from their winning formula.

"You've got to find a balance between how much you adjust the way you play to your opponents and how much you concentrate on making sure you execute your game plan. In big games, it's very important that you don't lose track of what you can do."

Meanwhile, Pirates coach Roger De Sa believes his team - also the defending champions - are the underdogs going into today's Soweto Derby.

Pirates recently drew with PSL newcomers Chippa United, while Chiefs beat Ajax Cape Town convincingly to remain at the top of the ABSA Premiership table during a week-day fixture.

De Sa said his side would hold its own.

" We've obviously been watching Chiefs and we've seen how well they've been doing. They've been playing pretty exciting football - there's no doubt about it.

" We've got to focus on what we can do and do the best we can. Let's compete."

Meanwhile, soccer lovers are voicing their opinions on social networks ahead of the derby.

Zandile Mtandeki tweeted: "It's a derby today @Kaizer_Chiefs. Rise Khosi Rise!!!!!"

While Arnold Makgoo wrote, "Clearly there are three teams in PSL, Chiefs, Pirates and others, #SowetoDerbyDay"

Another soccer fan Marcia Lebambo wrote "Kaizer Chiefs Dumela.... Dumela...singing already Happy Khosified Saturday."

FNB STADIUM'S PITCH CONDITION

Ground workers from the Soweto stadium say they are more than happy with the state of the pitch.

Management previously came under fire for the condition of the playing surface ahead of Bafana Bafana's clash with Zambia last month, following a Linkin Park concert at the venue the day before.

Stadium manager Jacques Grobbelaar on Saturday said grounds-men worked throughout the week to get the pitch ready for today's match.

He said it wasn't always ideal to have big events following one other, but said he was pleased with preparations for today's match.