Kaizer Chiefs head into their clash with Orlando Pirates this weekend off the back of successive failures but well aware of what is at stake.

Chiefs have stuttered in their push for the Premiership title suffering an upset loss at home against Maritzburg United and were dumped out of the Nedbank Cup on penalties this weekend.

Middendorp unsure on timing of derby

Coach Ernst Middendorp admitted that the match doesn’t come at the best time for Kaizer Chiefs who still lead the league but appear to be feeling the pressure of a title tilt.

“It’s about the next game, which is next Saturday, so we need to be concentrated now as quickly as possible, and that’s it,” the German trainer said.

“I don’t know [if the timing is right], we know it’s Saturday’s game, and there’s going to be a huge attendance so, of course, there’s a huge result at stake, and we’re aware about it.”

The Soweto Derby is the event of any PSL season, but there will be so much more at stake than bragging rights this time around.

Orlando Pirates are hot on the heels of the leaders in third place and know that a win in front of a sold-out FNB Stadium will close the gap between the sides to just three points, something that would have been unthinkable at the turn of the year.

Mosimane urges Sundowns fans to cheer for Pirates against Chiefs

Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns are also bearing down on Kaizer Chiefs, just four points back. Downs focus is currently on the Caf Champions League quarterfinals against Al Ahly of Egypt. Pitso Mosimane’s side won’t play in the PSL until 11 March when they take on Stellenbosch FC in the Cape.

Orlando Pirates to test Kaizer Chiefs wobbly keepers

Kaizer Chiefs have something of a goalkeeping conundrum once again. Still, Middendorp is likely to back Daniel Akpeyi despite the return to fitness of club captain and cult hero Itumeleng Khune.

Akpeyi made a massive blunder that allowed Maritzburg United to take the lead when they last played at the FNB Stadium.

Kaizer Chiefs cannot afford to fall off the pace in the final third of a Premiership race that they have led since the outset of the season. 

Middendorp’s men have won just twice in their last five outings beating Golden Arrows, in the PSL, and Royal Eagles, in the Nedbank Cup round of 32. They beat both KZN outfits by a 1-0 margin.

The Soweto Derby kicks off at 15:00 on Saturday 29 February.

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