The striker has played in 12 official Derbies since joining Kaizer Chiefs in 2011.
“This is a massive game,” stresses Bernard Parker ahead of Saturday’s Soweto Derby. “Everybody is excited. The Derby is a motivation on its own with both teams giving absolutely everything to come on top.”
Parker disagrees with people who suggest that Derbies have become boring from a spectator point of view.
“The Soweto is always a hard-fought battle,” the 29-year-old reacts. “No player can allow even one split second lapse of focus. Derbies are extremely tough with a high sense of concentration levels. For the real supporter it is enthralling to watch and follow.”
Saturday’s Derby will be the first in a long time with both clubs having a local coach on the bench, Steve Komphela (for Kaizer Chiefs) and Eric Tinkler (for Orlando Pirates).
“That’s history, certainly in the modern era,” Parker comments. “Komphela has been great since taking over. He’s giving us the freedom to express our South African flair.”
Amakhosi are at present in fourth position on the Absa Premiership, having collected 14 points from eight games. The Buccaneers have had relatively poor start to the season (5 points from seven matches) and are in 11th position on the log.
Parker, however, warns that a Derby is “a game on its own” for which form doesn’t count.
Then, the striker concludes: “As a kid it was always my dream to play one day in a Soweto Derby. That’s what every South African player wants. To play in the Derby is a dream come true.”
Chiefs and Pirates face each at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, 31 October (kick-off is at 15:30). However, we urge people to come to the stadium early!