The Telkom Knockout reaches its penultimate stage this weekend when the two semi-finals will be played in Gauteng.
Both games are derbies too as the best of Soweto, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, lock horns at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon, before Tshwane’s two top guns – Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United – clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium later.
Home advantage is unlikely to favour either Amakhosi or the Brazilians as their opponents are all too familiar with the surroundings of the two host venues.
Playing in front of your home fans has not played a very significant role either in the 2015 edition of the competition. Out of the 12 games played, five have been won by the visitors, meaning both the Buccaneers and Matsatsantsa will be quietly confident of their chances.
Both are also enjoying resurgences after poor starts to the season. Prior to back-to-back Absa Premiership wins in their last two games, Pirates had not won a league game since August 18, while SuperSport had lost four consecutive matches in the championship before their current four-match unbeaten sequence.
For Eric Tinkler, the match cannot come soon enough as he looks to continue efforts to restore the trust of the Orlando clubs’ fans.
Last week’s 3-1 derby win over Chiefs would undoubtedly have helped and another is likely to do wonders.
The problem for Tinkler, though, is that their rivals have a rich history in the competition and are 13-time winners.
This in contrast to the mere and surprising one for Pirates, which came back in 2011.
Bucs attacker Thabo Rakhale believes past results, including last weekend’s triumph, will count for nothing in Soweto.
“It is not about the previous result that we got against them,” he said. “It is a different ball-game. It is a new game.
“The past derby is just water under the bridge. We have passed that and we are going to prepare for this one just like how we prepare for any important game. I mean, this is a cup game, a semi-final game and we cannot go to this game thinking we won the last derby.”
Whilst Pirates continued their momentum with a 2-1 midweek win at Ajax Cape Town, Chiefs boss Steve Komphela oversaw a 3-1 triumph over Lamontville Golden Arrows. It is never easy to recover from defeat to your biggest rivals, but the Amakhosi boss is at least happy they now have a second chance at 15h00 on Saturday.
“We responded well after the derby loss,” Komphela said. “It was important to remove the salt that was on us.
“This weekend is another opportunity in seven days to redeem ourselves, yet another opportunity to rectify our mistakes.
“It is not about the number of times you go down, but coming up one more time is the difference. Characters are built and characters will be revealed.”
Meanwhile, SuperSport are eager to continue their restoration in coach Gordon Igesund.
The defending champions have more at stake considering they won the crown 12 months ago and invested so heavily in new faces during the off season.
Igesund feels they now have turned the corner.
“My players believe in themselves big time and I also believe in them,” he added. “The understanding between the players is much better compared to the beginning of the season.
“We are getting better and better. We will be a difficult team to beat.”
The second semi-final kicks off at 20h15.