Orlando Pirates will not take Ernst Middendorp's Kaizer Chiefs' lightly in Soweto Derby
Posted: 7 February 2019 Time: 15:26
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has guarded against complacency given their recent Soweto Derby dominance and warned that Kaizer Chiefs are a different side under Ernst Middendorp.
The two Soweto giants lock horns in their second round Absa Premiership clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, where title challengers may be separated from the rest of the pack.
Pirates have enjoyed a well-documented unbeaten record over Chiefs stretching back to December 2014, while their most recent three meetings have all gone in favour of Bucs.
However, though there are many reasons not to rest on their laurels, ‘Micho’ has since pointed out one particular factor that cannot be taken lightly ahead of this weekend’s encounter – that being Middendorp’s impact since his arrival in December last year.
“We have no right ever – no matter where you are or what position you’re in – to be complacent, to underrate and underestimate [your opponent],” said Sredojevic.
“With that in mind, we need to erase last year from our memories, and we have one critical reason – my dear colleague Ernst Middendorp’s arrival.
“Since Chiefs’ first kick of the ball against SuperSport United until their last match against Cape Town City, we have seen huge strides in a positive direction from the point of the team – their commitment, dedication, hard work, mental approach, physical fitness, and technical and tactical competitiveness.
“Therefore, this is a totally different ball game with a different coach and the same players want to prove that they are capable to do better than last year.”
The Serbian tactician has also emphasised the value of a victory over their arch-rivals in relation not only to their league title ambitions but also to the joy of their supporters.
“We are fully focussed on this game, knowing that – yes, it is for three points but, deep in the mind it’s much more because we have the power to make our supporters happy and we know how much this Derby means to them,” he added.
“We want to come out and not allow any stoned to be left unturned. It will be a very tough match, which small details will decide, but we want to do everything possible to ensure those details come from our side.”