Orlando Pirates legend Edward “Magents” Motale predicts a thriller, as he backs his former club to win the Battle of Soweto at a sold out FNB Stadium today.
“I have a good feeling about this one. I think Pirates have picked up form at the right time. The results in the past few weeks, right from the Swallows game to the big win over Mamelodi Sundowns give me confidence that they can do it,” he said.
Motale knows the Soweto Derby very well, and was a defensive pillar of the all-conquering Orlando Pirates Class of 1995 that won the Africa Champions League. It is a squad that is still fondly remembered by the legions of Bucs fans. The history-making, star-studded Bucs had legends such as Mark Fish, Gavin Lane, Jerry Sikhosana, Brandan Silent, Bruce Ramokadi and William Okpara, to name just a few.
The 56-year-old veteran of the Soweto Derby believes his former club have fixed the weaknesses at the front and back that haunted them in the past.
“Kermit Erasmus was a very good buy for Orlando Pirates, and his combination with Monnapule Saleng upfront has been excellent. The back marshalled by (Olisa) Ndah and (Nkosinathi) Sibisi has also been very solid,” said the former Orlando Pirates star, who also won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations with Bafana Bafana.
He was however, quick to caution his beloved Buccaneers from falling into victims to complacency.
“Yes, Pirates are looking good but they should know that the Soweto Derby is a different ball game altogether and they should not underestimate Kaizer Chiefs. The rivalry is fierce. I can tell you that unbelievable motivation erupts when Chiefs players hear the word Pirates,” he said.
Motale has some fond Soweto Derby memories of his own.
“My first derby will obviously stand out because I scored past Brian Baloyi and we won. The other one that is dear to me was after independence when we played in ANC colours. We came through a hole in the fence wearing green and nobody recognised us. It was probably our best performance and Jerry (Sikhosana) scored three goals in that game,” he said.
Motale predicted that the game which has been the talk of town all week will be a thriller tomorrow.
“The first 20 minutes are going to be intense with Chiefs searching for an early goal to unsettle Pirates. They will want to score first then sit back and frustrate them. I am sure Orlando Pirates have also done their homework and will also come out guns blazing,” said the player popularly known as Magents.