OPINION: Sorry dad, but Chiefs can't beat the Buccaneers' spirit

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo and Linda Mntambo.
Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo and Linda Mntambo.

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Whoever "they" is though, had clearly never had any dealings with the South African football scene. Or more specifically, those who have pledged their allegiance with either of the two giants of South African football, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. 

I am about to unleash one of these football kings' legion of supporters' ire, not least of that of my own father, an old school Amakhosi fanatic, by declaring that Orlando Pirates will again place yet another traumatic stain on Chiefs'' psyche by walking away with the three points, come Saturday.

The Naturena contingent have alluded to the wounds left by their 3-1 defeat by the Buccaneers eight months ago, and have not beaten their sworn rivals in official matches, in four years.

And this to me is a very nuanced way of admitting that tactics, formations and planning be damned, at this time, pure unadulterated emotion is the name of the game.  

So, much as the overuse of the term "mental toughness" often veers towards the ridiculous in sports reporting, this aspect of the match is going to be a decisive factor. 

The Buccaneers loathe losing to their Soweto counterparts and have clearly built up a impenetrable psychological fortress whenever it is Chiefs at the opposite end of the field.

The psychobabble appears credible when you consider, by the same token that Micho Sredojevics' charges have been owned, over the last few years by Mamelodi Sundowns.

As mush as the "past results mean nothing in the Soweto derby" and "this is a different team, with a different coach and players" assertions are spot on, Chiefs were still unable to beat Pirates in a season that the Tshwane side walloped Bucs 6-0.

It is also doubtful that the two sets of players "despise" one another enough to really rip each other to shreds on the field.

I mean can you imagine the same scenario that unfolded at the Fifa World Cup in Russia with the Spanish team, where just the thought of the national team coach trekking off to Real Madrid placed a bee in the bonnet of the Spain camp with the Barcelona players, to the point where Julen Lopetegui had to go with immediate effect happening with either of these two while on Bafana Bafana duty. I can't.

Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena did try to shake things up midweek, perhaps hoping to rouse the stereotypical Italian hot blood from Chiefs head coach Giovanni Solinas. To our collective disappointment, Solinas did not bite.

Some have branded Mokwena arrogant, but it could be that Solinas' retreat was the metaphoric omen to what his players may do in the face of the Pirates charge - retreat. 

Finally, before anyone is tempted to strongly come at me for these views, remember, my own father might have disowned me by the time I dare go back home to Pampierstad.

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