Bucs have the October Derby edge

Despite being over-hyped and failing to deliver in recent editions, a Kaizer Chiefs-Orlando Pirates match-up will always get the heart racing, as the two giants of South African football lock horns, with a massive three points, but at times equally important bragging rights, on offer.

A look back at the PSL history books reveals that seven of the last 42 meetings since the start of the modern-day PSL have been played in the month of October, a somewhat delicate yet also opportune time for such a fixture.

Two months into the season, one would think teams have settled on effective combinations with new squad members, players would have a good understanding of each other, and players’ fitness levels should not be a problem. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the annual October FIFA international break may halt a team’s momentum, while CAF commitments and travel may also have had an adverse effect on a team’s preparations for the biggest show on offer in local football.

With that in mind, we take a look at each league Derby played in October since 1996:

09/10/1998: Kaizer Chiefs 0-0 Orlando Pirates
The first Soweto Derby of the PSL era to be played in October ended in a goalless stalemate, with neither side finding the back of the net on this occasion. By the season’s end, Chiefs would end the season five points above Pirates as runners up behind Mamelodi Sundowns on the log.

30/10/2004: Orlando Pirates 2-1 Kaizer Chiefs
Pirates won their first October Soweto Derby in 2004, as the late Gift Leremi opened the scoring on three minutes, before Arthur Zwane levelled matters just after the re-start. A draw looked probable, until Benedict Vilakazi’s strike three minutes from time handed the Bucs all three points. Chiefs would however go on to win the league that year, edging Pirates by two points after 30 games.

29/10/2005: Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 Orlando Pirates
David Obua and Gert Schalkwyk were on target as Amakhosi recorded their first October Soweto Derby victory in 2005. It wasn’t enough come the end of the season however, as Pirates edged their rivals into second place by four points, as Sundowns took the championship crown.

31/10/2009: Kaizer Chiefs 0-0 Orlando Pirates
The two Soweto giants played out a goalless draw on the last day of the 10 month in 2009, with Siphiwe Tshabalala’s strike in the final minute crashing off the woodwork to deny the Glamour Boys maximum points. Chiefs ended the season third that year, seven points above fifth-placed Orlando Pirates.

26/10/2013: Kaizer Chiefs 1-1 Orlando Pirates
The October spoils were shared once again in 2013, as a 1-1 draw was played out at FNB Stadium. Kermit Erasmus had volleyed home Thabo Matlaba’s cross just 10 minutes in to hand The Bucs the lead, before Kingston Nkhatha levelled matters as he met Tshabalala’s cross to restore parity. Chiefs ended two points behind winners Sundowns in the league that season, with Pirates fourth, 17 points behind.

31/10/2015: Kaizer Chiefs 1-3 Orlando Pirates
Pirates’ last October Derby victory came in 2015, which was the highest scoring Derby of the month as the Buccaneers secured a 3-1 win. Issa Sarr had given his side the lead, before Erick Mathoho rose highest to level matters a minute before the break. Ayanda Gcaba headed his side in front on 55 minutes, before Thamsanqa Gabuza made sure of the three points with an easy tap-in with eight minutes to go. Chiefs ended that season in fifth, still above Pirates who ended five points behind in seventh.

29/10/2016: Orlando Pirates 0-0 Kaizer Chiefs
The much-hyped Derby of last year failed to deliver as expectant fans failed to see any goals scored in this 0-0 draw. Neither side did enough to test the opposition goalkeeper, though Tshabalala did sting the palms of Brighton Mhlongo in what was Shabba’s 28th Derby appearance, extending his record. Chiefs finished fourth last season, while Pirates finished a dismal 11th – their worst in PSL history.

October totals:
Pirates wins: 2
Chiefs wins: 1
Draws: 4

Of the 42 league Derbies since 1996, Chiefs have won 11 match-ups and Pirates nine, with 22 draws. The last three league Derbies have all been drawn, with the last victory being Bucs’ 3-1 win in October 2015.

Of the 22 draws, 13 have ended 1-1 – the very same result the last time the two met in the league in April – while seven have ended goalless.

But as Steve Komphela says, statistics don’t reveal everything. But let’s hope for a goal-fest in the latest edition of the October Soweto Derby.

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