Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates: What is the Soweto Derby?

The Soweto Derby is the biggest football fixture in South African football involving old foes Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

It marks the rivalry between these teams whose roots can be traced from Soweto, the biggest township in South Africa.

This football fixture is rated as one of the fiercely-contested derbies in Africa, whether Chiefs and Pirates are clashing in a Premier Soccer League match, Cup game or charity confrontation.

Before Covid-19 struck, it was also the most attended match in South Africa with tickets usually sold out within a few hours of sales ahead of the contest at the 90,000 capacity FNB Stadium.

Even Bafana Bafana matches have over the years been overshadowed by the Soweto Derby in terms of attendance, hype and ambience inside the stadium.

That it is bigger than Bafana fixtures can be substantiated by the fact that South Africa hosted continental heavyweights Nigeria in a modestly attended FNB Stadium in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in November 2018. 

There is another fixture between Pirates and Swallows FC which is referred to as the Original Soweto Derby but it is nothing compared to battles between Amakhosi and the Buccaneers. 

Origins of the Soweto Derby

Benni McCarthy, Orlando Pirates & Dominic Isaacs, Kaizer Chiefs, 2012

For just over half a century, the Soweto derby clashes between Chiefs and Pirates have been witnessed. 

The first confrontation between these two giants was on January 24, 1970, with Pirates winning 6-4 at Orlando Stadium in the third-place game of the Rogue Beer Cup.

When they first met, it was the very first month in which Chiefs were formed, so the maiden clash came when Amakhosi were 17-years-old while Pirates had been existing for 33 years then.

Interestingly, Chiefs owner Kaizer Motaung turned out for Pirates during his playing days before establishing his own club.

The fact that Motanug had left Pirates the previous year to become a rival saw the first Soweto Derby being dubbed “The Match of the Year.”

Chiefs won the first Soweto Derby league clash in April 1971, beating Pirates 4-3 in the then National Professional Soccer League.

Soweto Derby Heroes

Over the years, the two team’s rivalry raged on over the years and there are players who have emerged as heroes from these games.

Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe has scored the most goals in the Soweto derby, finding the back of the net 19 times. 

According to the Chiefs website, Siphiwe Tshabalala has appeared in the most fixtures between Chiefs and Pirates – which counts to 22.

Upcoming Soweto Derby

Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates.

Premier Soccer League followers are bracing themselves for a Chiefs and Pirates tie on October 6 at FNB Stadium. 

It will be a PSL match and Chiefs go into this clash with bragging rights having won the last league meeting between the two sides in March 2021.

Amakhosi also won the Carling Black Label Cup 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 regulation time score in August.

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