Midweek victories by Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have whet the appetite for Saturday’s Soweto Derby confrontation at FNB Stadium.
The two traditional giants clash in a Premier Soccer League showdown, seeking to rescue their season following a difficult start to the term.
Pirates go into Saturday’s match fresh from beating Sekhukhune United 1-0 on Tuesday, a result that eased pressure on coach Jose Riveiro.
Their rivals, Chiefs, will be buoyed by Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Cape Town Spurs, another result that has thrown a lifeline to caretaker coach Cavin Johnson, who could now be dreaming of securing a permanent role.
The wins were the perfect prelude to one of the biggest derby matches on the African continent.
Johnson knows that victory on Saturday will score points for him from the hard-to-please Chiefs fans who had run-ins with his predecessor Molefi Ntseki.
The former Al Ahly assistant coach tries to look at the bigger picture and sees potential in this Amakhosi side.
“It’s something that appeals to me, but there’s something bigger that appeals to me at Kaizer Chiefs,” Johnson told the media.
“And when I say this team has got that potential, I think you need to bring some things from a bigger team and put it into this team.”
Coach Riveiro tried to play down Tuesday’s win and water down expectations on the Soweto Derby, citing fatigue.
The Sea Robbers have participated in the CAF Champions League, MTN8, Carling Knockout and the Premier Soccer League campaign so far this season.
“I’m not even thinking of the next one [Soweto Derby],” said Riveiro.
“There was a bit of fatigue. We got something fresh but at the same time it takes time to find the right spaces and due to the talent that they have upfront, they managed to put one ball in the net.”
Crucial for the Soweto giants is trying not to lag far behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who have set themselves on a path for a record-extending seventh PSL title.
Chiefs have 10 points fewer than Masandawana, who have played three league games less, while the Buccaneers are trailing the log leaders by 12 points.