Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates defender Benson Mhlongo explains why Kaizer Chiefs will always take games against the Buccaneers more seriously.
Mhlongo believes you can't compare any Chiefs game against Sundowns to the rivalry that exists between the two Soweto giants.
Chiefs lock horns with Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday, before they host arch-rivals Pirates in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals at Moses Mabhida Stadium next week. What will follow is another tie against Pirates in the Absa Premiership at FNB Stadium on November 9.
Mhlongo, who had the privilege of facing Amakhosi in the colours of both Abafana Ba Style and the Buccaneers, points out what sets the two fixtures apart.
“On the pitch yes, but in terms of rivalry no," Mhlongo tells KickOff.com
"In terms of rivalry supporters of Sundowns they are not that much compared to Pirates. I think if they can put it at FNB [Stadium], only then you can tell. But in terms of the match the pressure it is the same. As a player the pressure is the same as its against Chiefs, especially when you play at Loftus. At Loftus the fans are much closer to the field than at Lucas Moripe Stadium. So the pressure is the same in terms of the game.
"It's the size of the team [that brings pressure], it's the name of the players and the bragging rights. Because when you look at Chiefs, you look at Sundowns they've got big names. So bragging rights, they come to party, who's the best? Most of the players they know each other from the national teams so it's to prove a point who is the best. It's Messi versus Ronaldo type of issue, Messi versus Neymar, that type of situation yes. It's the bragging rights that makes the pressure."
Mhlongo commented on what’s changed with today’s rivalries compared to when he was still playing at the highest level.
"I always say it won't be fair to compare me to any South African player. I was taught football by Gora Ebrahim. I was playing football to play football not competing with anyone. So I'm from a different school of football, where I was taught a specific position, I was taught the organisation of the game, I was taught transition...I was taught all the things that they are trying to teach them. I was taught personally one v one by the great Gora Ebrahim.
"So when I'm in the pitch I'm not competing with anyone but I'm competing against myself the knowledge to understand the game. That's how I used to play my game, that's why I could stick to two-touch until I retired, I never changed the style of play that I was playing. So that's why I say it's unfair to compare the other players with me because on the pitch I was helping those players cause some of them they were not taught the game.
"Unfortunately me, every game is important to me, end of the season that's where it counts. What did I win? That's how I used to treat my games. Every little game was important that's why I could give hundred percent to any game. There's no game that is above the other one. The pressure is the same."