Dobsonville Stadium will be the setting for the duel between two of Soweto’s oldest clubs – Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows on Wednesday evening. Labelled the Original Soweto Derby, this once was the pinnacle fixture in the South African football calendar.
Ask anybody the derby between Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows, the general comment would be along the lines of “its just another” game. For everyone born in Soweto grew up watching only one derby – the Soweto Derby between the Mighty Buccaneers and Kaizer Chiefs.
The truth however, is that before there was a Kaizer Chiefs, the one match many people looked forward to watching was the one between Pirates and Swallows, people from all walks of life would cram inside Orlando Stadium to watch the two teams battle it out for ultimate bragging rights of Soweto .
The rivalry between the two sides continued into the 60s, 70s but by the late 70s early 80s, all changed. The emergence of Chiefs into a serious player in the local scene partly due to the way it was formed (as a breakaway from Pirates); swiftly thrust the Pirates vs. Chiefs derby into the limelight – this fierce derby continues to this day.
Fast forward to today, the Pirates versus Swallows derby no longer pulls the capacity crowds as it used to.
HOWEVER, the three points (ok, it used to be two points until 1995) on offer then and today is still hotly contested for as it was back in the 60s and 70s. For Swallows, the three points could be the difference between spending Christmas in the top ten or in the dreaded relegation zone. While for the Buccaneers, another three points in the bag on Wednesday and again over the weekend, could see them close the year as high up as second place.
So how do these two sides fare, leading up to their 38th league encounter in the modern PSL era (Since 1996)?
Form – Last 5 League Matches
Moroka Swallows – L, W, D, L, D
Despite their positive start to the new campaign by defeating Pirates 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium, the Dube Birds have struggled. Swallows are currently in 14th place at the halfway mark of the 2014/15 season, having won only four matches.
As for current form, the inconsistency has continued. Swallows have only collected 5 points out of a potential 15 in their last five matches. However, there are some positives. Their goalless draw away to Bloemfontein Celtic at the weekend was their first clean sheet of the season which could signal a change in fortune for Fani Madida’s outfit who have conceded the second most goals in the league (25 goals) one less than Polokwane City.
In the last five league matches, Swallows have scored five times and only conceded three goals.
Orlando Pirates – D, L, L, D, W