Thursday, 22 August 2013

AmaKhosi boss Stuart Baxter explains why Saturday's Soweto derby is unique in the world - and why Pirates winning in Africa is worth a glass of wine!

Rivals not enemies: Roger de Sa and
Stuart Baxter with the MTN8 trophy

KAIZER CHIEFS coach STUART BAXTER prepares for Saturday’s Soweto derby insisting the nation’s clash of giants is unique in the world of football.

But the double-winning AmaKhosi boss insists he is on good terms with Bucca coach Roger De Sa and that they will “share a glass of wine together” after the first leg of the MTN semi-final - no matter what.

Baxter, who became the first foreign PSL coach to win the title in his first season, said on my football show BOLLOCKZ! yesterday: “I’ve been to big football derbies all over the world, and the Soweto Derby matches anything in terms of spectacle and passion.

“But it’s very, very different to anything else. The crowd mingles. It’s a carnival. They get so hyped up for it on a different level. It’s unique, something we should cherish and be proud of.”

And he recalls a decade-long relationship with former Bafana goalkeeper De Sa saying: “I’ve known Roger for a long time, since I was the national coach. We’ve kept in touch. I rate him as a friend and colleague.

“A lot of people raised their eyebrows when I said I was pleased to see Pirates getting a good win in Egypt. If Pirates get a good result does that make us useless? If they do badly does that make us a better team? NO IT DOESN’T.

“It’s a good result for South Africa when Pirates do well in Africa. When we walk on the pitch we won’t be buying each other cake, when the line is drawn in the sand we’ll be fierce enemies for 90 minutes. And that’s it, we’ll do whatever we can to get a result.

“Afterwards I’ll buy him a glass of wine and say: "Well played" or "unlucky son"! I don’t think we need to hate each other to make a positive rivalry. You do your work for your club, no matter what other people do, it doesn’t make you better or worse.”

As for the intricate details of Saturday’s clash – where 80,000 tickets have already been sold – Baxter insists: “At this moment no injuries to report, Major had a bit of a day off with a virus but he's back so it’s only Siyabonga Nkosi who is in training but not available for selection.

“How will we play in at Soccer City? It’s possible we could play Bernard Parker, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Knowledge Musona all up front together. We’ve played with all three together before. They will all be playing a part in the game.

“But it’s a two-legged affair this one so you’re looking not to concede a goal at home while getting a few in the plus column. We’ll have to box a little bit cagily but I can envisage playing all three strikers in the game.”

Mark Fish, part of the 1995 Orlando Pirates Champions League winning team, also highlighted the unique nature of the Soweto Derby on BOLLOCKZ!, saying: “Apart from playing against Chiefs, the biggest game I played in during my years in Europe was the Rome derby. Roma v Lazio, who share a stadium.

“But there it’s all about segregating the fans, there are police and stewards everywhere. In all the big European derbies it’s like that. You have to keep the fans apart. But here, it’s different. For all the rivalry, the fans can sit together, sing together.

“That’s what makes Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs unique.”

You can find both the Baxter and Mark Fish videos below.

BOLLOCKZ! my show on, airs every Thursday from 10am-noon.

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