KickOff.com picks four key battles that could decide the 2017 Carling Cup
Posted: 27 July 2017 Time: 11:46
After the Carling Black Label Champions Cup starting line-ups were announced on Wednesday, KickOff.com picks four key clashes that could decide the Soweto Derby.
Bitter rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs lock horns at FNB Stadium on Saturday in the annual PSL curtain-raiser, where fans get to vote for who they want in the starting XI, as well as the team formations and substitutes.
Below, KickOff.com Editor Tshepang Mailwane picks out the key clashes that could make or break the hopes of Amakhosi and Buccaneers fans.
Luvoyo Memela v Ramahlwe Mphahlele
Mphahlele was arguably the best right back in the PSL last season, settling in quickly after his big move from Mamelodi Sundowns. He enjoys getting forward to give Chiefs numbers when they attack, but he’ll have to be careful not to give Memela too much space and freedom to get into the Amakhosi half. Memela has a sweet left foot and can cause a lot of problems if he is on form. He’s got an eye for goal too. It should be an interesting battle, but Mphahlele has the edge on this one.
Who will win the battle? Mphahlele
Thabo Matlaba v George Lebese
Lebese is eager to re-establish himself as a member of the Amakhosi starting line-up, so he’ll be using the Black Label to convince coach Steve Komphela he deserves more opportunities in the coming season. Lebese is on a high following his goals in the two pre-season matches against Township Rollers and will be looking to give Matlaba, who likes getting forward and leaving spaces at the back, a headache. Matlaba has not been himself over the last year or so and does not always look comfortable in that right back position, even though he is versatile.
Who will win the battle? Lebese
Happy Jele v Gustavo Paez
Some of Amakhosi’s supporters have predicted that the coming season will be the one Paez establishes himself as the club’s main striker. He showed good promise after joining Chiefs in the second half of the season and now he understands South African football a bit more, which should make life a little easier. He’ll face Jele, who has been struggling for consistent form. Jele, the longest serving player at Pirates, has to keep a close eye on Paez and play his role as a leader at the back to ensure Pirates do not concede soft goals, which was the case last season.
Who will win the battle? Paez
Tendai Ndoro v Mulomowandau Mathoho
Dropped from the starting line-up in the second half of last season, Ndoro has been given the nod by supporters who want to see him on the pitch and not on the bench. The Zimbabwean striker needs a goal or two to get his confidence back and he’ll no doubt be itching to find the back of the net against Amakhosi. Mathoho, meanwhile, has had some good games against Pirates in the past but he did not have the greatest of seasons last term. He’ll have a tough afternoon trying to tame Ndoro, who gets into good areas in the box.
Who will win the battle? Ndoro