Chiefs and Pirates legend Marks Maponyane says the Soweto derby has lost its spark. Picture: Instagram
Chiefs and Pirates legend Marks Maponyane says the Soweto derby has lost its spark. Picture: Instagram

Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs legend Marks “Go Man Go” Maponyane said the Soweto derby is surviving on sentimental value but is being overshadowed by the extraordinary dominance of Mamelodi Sundowns.

Chiefs host Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday, a week after Sundowns won their 10th trophy since 2016 when former coach Pitso Mosimane claimed his second league title with the club.

During this five-year period, the Brazilians have won five league titles, two Nedbank and Telkom Knockout trophies, and one MTN8 trophy on the domestic scene, to go with the Caf Champions League and Super Cup they have also hoisted.

Disappointingly for Chiefs and Pirates, they have managed just one trophy between them during this period after the Buccaneers laid their hands on the MTN8 trophy last season.

By lifting the MTN8 trophy with a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win over Cape Town City last weekend, Sundowns surpassed Chiefs as the team with most trophies (21) since the formation of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 1996.

“It [the Chiefs-Pirates Soweto derby] exists because of sentimental reasons,” was Maponyane’s blunt assessment of the state of Southern Africa’s biggest fixture in comparison with Sundowns’ dominance on the domestic scene.

“Whoever is going to win the derby ... it doesn’t make them achievers, because history has it that Sundowns is now the dominant side in the country, and they have just surpassed Chiefs in terms of most trophies won in the PSL era.

“The derby is just a match between two teams and they must start being consistent and win trophies. Pirates won the MTN8 last season but diehard supporters want the league because that is what matters.

“The reason Sundowns are this dominant is because whoever they buy fits into their plan and style of play. If you don’t have a plan, you bring in players with reputations to try to boost the image of the team, but players are not there to save the image of the team. They are there to show their talent in the plan that is there.”

Maponyane, part of a select group of players to have starred for both Chiefs and Pirates, said the two Soweto sides are way behind Sundowns when it comes to the standard of play.

“They are far because the other team [Chiefs] was celebrating, having just made the top eight while Sundowns had won the league. This means they are far ahead, it was going to be something if one of them had finished second, but AmaZulu finished second.

“For them to reclaim their glory days, they must improve significantly while hoping that Sundowns drop their standards. That is unlikely to happen any time soon because Sundowns players are getting better.”