High stakes in double derbies

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The two sides meet for the umpteenth time this season on Saturday in the Nedbank Cup round of 32.

That’s not the only dose of derby delight this week. SuperSport United host Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday in an Absa Premiership encounter that could give a clear indication of where the title is heading in May.

The Brazilians have had an unbeaten run in the league and there are only nine matches to go.

Here’s why the Tshwane Derby is worth the hassle:

Stuart Baxter v Pitso Mosimane

The two coaches crossed paths on a number of occasions while Baxter was at Chiefs, the Scotsman having the last laugh with a 1-0 victory when Sundowns came up against his former team – last season’s champions – towards the business end of that campaign.

These two elite coaches renew their rivalry and are former Bafana Bafana

mentors.

It was Baxter who forced Mosimane to surrender the championship nearly a year ago. Although SuperSport are way off the pace as far as the title chase is concerned, Baxter could derail Mosimane’s plans to win the league again.

Top 8 on the line

That’s not something Sundowns will be worried about, even if the result doesn’t go in their favour.

But Matsatsantsa will be desperate to win this clash, seeing that Gordon Igesund left the club in a mess, and Baxter has probably realised by now that it is going to take some doing to clean up.

SuperSport are outside the top eight bracket in 11th place (before yesterday’s round of PSL games) and a victory over their rivals across town will need to be followed up by a couple more to make it into the MTN8 tournament at the beginning of the 2016/17 season.

And here’s why the Soweto Derby is worth the hassle:

Toddler Watch

Tinkering Pirates coach Tinkler, nicknamed “Toddler” by the club supporters who clearly don’t think he is fit for the job, will again be under scrutiny.

Before the Buccaneers took on Bloemfontein Celtic last night, the coach earned a reprieve through a crushing 3-1 away victory against Mpumalanga Black Aces in Nelspruit a week ago.

Not their best performance, Tinkler said, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Pirates always step it up against their bitter rivals.

A defeat here would probably mean the end of the road for Tinkler, even if this is at the end of the

campaign.

A trophy

Steve Komphela knows a lot about getting Amakhosi to finals, but he has yet to hoist a trophy, having come off second best in the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout this season.

It is looking likely that Chiefs will not be able to defend their Premier League title, leaving the Nedbank Cup as their only hope for domestic silverware.

Ditto for Tinkler, who will want to see Pirates back in a continental competition.

The cup winners automatically go into the Confederation Cup, which Pirates risk missing out on because they are so far off the pace in terms of their top three target in the league.

It is rather unfortunate that a Soweto Derby has come about so early in the tournament.

– THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

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