Saturday, 29 February 2020, will mark 50 years since the first Soweto derby and SuperSport will mark the momentous occasion with rolling pre-match coverage and expert on-day analysis as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates go head to head.
Both are well placed in the Absa PSL standings, Chiefs setting the pace at the top with Pirates pushing hard in third. Chiefs won a five-goal derby thriller in November, but this fixture has even more piquancy given that it is the first of the new decade and could have a major bearing on the title chase.
SuperSport will host a press conference for the teams on Thursday, to be broadcast live on SuperSport 4 and Blitz from 1pm-1.30pm, with the coaches of both teams in attendance. A compendium of great goals from bygone derbies will also be broadcast as a reminder of past glories.
The fixture is bursting with storylines, making this one of the most exciting derby battles in years.
Pirates have largely dominated Chiefs since 2014, but it is Chiefs who are in front in the league race.
Also, Ernst Middendorp has never lost in the Soweto derby since his first stint as Chiefs coach back in 2005. This, too, is the first such derby that will have two German coaches seated opposite each other on the benches.
And few can boast more experience than Happy Jele, the Pirates captain, who has played the second most Soweto derbies in history (24), three behind Chiefs legend Itumeleng Khune.
As part of the build-up to Saturday, SuperSport also has several interviews lined up with prominent former players, among them William Shongwe, who played for both Pirates and Chiefs.
The intention is to go down memory lane and catch up with past players and get a feel of how it was playing for the teams, their expectations, fan expectations and what it meant to be involved in the derby in particular.
In episode one of “A Rivalry”, to be broadcast on Wednesday (SS4, 7.30pm), Sizwe Mabena sits down with Shongwe, who is sure to offer a unique perspective on what awaits.
For the second episode (SS4, Thursday 8pm), Sizwe Mabena is joined by Innocent Mayoyo, Steve Lekoelea and Shongwe.
For the third and final episode (SS4, Friday 5.30pm), Mabena and Shongwe are joined by Gabadinho Mhango and Thembinkosi Lorch from Pirates, plus Samir Nurkovic and Khama Billiat from Chiefs.
SuperSport will also have a special edition of Fanbase on Thursday (SS4, from 7pm), where fans will have an opportunity to talk about this much-anticipated clash between the Soweto giants.
On-day action at FNB Stadium will be summarised by the experienced duo of Carol Tshabalala and Phumlani Msibi, who will be pitchside to drive the build-up. Among their guests will be top analysts Stanton Fredericks and Jimmy Tau, who played for both teams, plus Simphiwe Dludlu, the SA women’s under-17 coach.
The 90-minute build-up will start at 2pm, ensuring wall-to-wall pre-event coverage before the biggest game in SA football. Ensuring the very best presentation, SuperSport will have 25 cameras, including one aboard a helicopter, plus the latest in augmented reality and touch-screen technology.
“All derbies are special, but as the first one of the new decade, we are determined to put on a better show than ever,” said producer Sifiso Mbambo. “The match is a sellout and is also a great television event. I’m anticipating a great day.”