Stakes are high for Soweto derby

SOUTH African soccer giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs meet in a much-vaunted Soweto derby at Orlando Stadium on Saturday - a game that has already generated much interest locally and in neighbouring countries.

SOUTH African soccer giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs meet in a much-vaunted Soweto derby at Orlando Stadium on Saturday - a game that has already generated much interest locally and in neighbouring countries.

The match is also expected to be watched by some of the coaches and officials of the 32 2010 Fifa World Cup teams who will be in the country for a workshop in Sun City next week.

Sowetan can reveal that a total of 21084 tickets have already been bought for this derby at the time of going to press late yesterday.

"The tickets sales for the Soweto derby are going very well, the demand has been awesome," said Pirates administration executive Floyd "Jomo" Mbele.

"We are aware that the capacity of the stadium is 46000 but we have decided to sell 34000 tickets for safety and security reasons.

"We expect the tickets to be sold out in the next few days and no tickets will be sold at the stadium on the day of the match.

"Our marketing department is handling the entertainment issue."

Chiefs and Pirates drew 0-0 in the first round, but the possibility of qualifying for the Champions League will inspire them to make a trip to Orlando a worthy one for fans. The Buccaneers are in the Champions League after finishing as runners-up last season.

Amakhosi, on the other hand, are fighting for second spot to qualify for the lucrative continental showpiece next season.

Both teams hope to win their midweek games to lift their spirits ahead of the derby, a fixture that divides families and unites warring factions in Parliament.

Chiefs host Mpumalanga Black Aces at Loftus tomorrow, while Pirates will be away to Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium.

Gert Schalkwyk of Pirates, who are the hosts, and Knowledge Musona carry their sides' hopes on the day.

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