Unbeaten Birds face acid test against Bucs

Feel it: the original Soweto derby is here

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Lucky Baloyi and Siyabonga Sangweni during the Absa Premiership match between Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium.
Lucky Baloyi and Siyabonga Sangweni during the Absa Premiership match between Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Dubbed “the original Soweto derby”, Sunday’s clash between Orlando Pirates and Swallows at Orlando Stadium is undoubtedly the drawcard of the Dstv Premiership this weekend.

This titanic showdown, kicking off at 3.30pm, has been hyped up for myriads of reasons. One such factor for the hype behind this clash is that these two sides will reignite their rivalry, meeting for the first time in five years, thanks to Swallows’ disappearance from the big league in 2015.

This classical Soweto derby was brought to an abrupt stop when the Dube Birds slumped all the way down to the fourth-tier of SA football after successive demotions from the top flight.

Another reason for the ballyhoo around this fixture is Swallows’ current fantastic form.

Second on the table, the Birds, who returned to the topflight via winning the GladAfrica Championship title last season, are one of the three unbeaten sides in the league thus far, together with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and sixth placed Golden Arrows.

Even more interesting, with 21 points from nine starts, Swallows are below Downs only by goal difference.

Some fancy this clash more than they do the one these sides play against another Soweto heavyweight in the form of Kaizer Chiefs. Reason being, Swallows (1947) and Pirates (1937) were founded much earlier than Chiefs (1970), hence the “original derby” tag.

Chatty Swallows coach Brandon “Brakkies” Truter sees Sunday’s game as a tool to gauge his soldiers’ mental strength  and robustness to compete in the league. The Cape-born trainer admitted facing Pirates is a bit trickier than their previous game.

“I think the Sunday game will be a very good test of our character and strength in this league. We’ll prepare as best as we can because it’s their home game," said Truter.

“Pirates are a very different kettle of fish. I think they’re a very dynamic‚ very offensive-minded team. I think it’s going to be very different to what we’ve faced."

What also adds spice to the game is that Swallows boast a number of former Pirates players such as skipper Lebohang “Cheeseboy” Mokoena, Thabo “Festival” Matlaba and Musa Nyatama, among many others.

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