Soweto Derby

The Soweto Derby is a football match between Soweto Clubs, today the Soweto Derby refers to an over 40 years old rivalry between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. The rivalry between these two Soweto Giants dates back to January 24, 1970. Orlando Pirates, already 33 years old at the time, met new kids on the block Kaizer Chiefs, founded by former Orlando Pirates player Kaizer Motaung.

Siyabonga Sangweni Soweto Derby 2015 Telkom Knockout Semi-final


Soweto, Johannesburg, Gauteng
 South Africa
Teams Involved Kaizer Chiefs
Orlando Pirates
First Match January 24, 1970
Official Matches 158
Kaizer Chiefs 67 Wins
Orlando Pirates 38 Wins
Draws 49
Abandoned 5


Kaizer Chiefs (206)
Orlando Pirates (166)

Most Appearances

Siphiwe Tshabalala (27), KC

Most Consecutive Appearances

Siphiwe Tshabalala (26), KC

Top Goalscorer

Pule “Ace” Ntsoelengoe, KC (19 goals)
Recent Match March 05, 2016
Stadium Disasters 2 with 85 fatalities

Orlando Pirates squared off with then, their would be arch-rivals for the first time when they were just 17 days old, it was January 24, 1970 at Orlando Stadium.

This was after both clubs had been beaten in the semi-finals of the eight-team Rogue Beer Cup, and had to play off for third place.



Atlanta Chiefs Trademark
Atlanta Chiefs Logo

It is believed that the rivalry between these two clubs came from the fact that Motaung had played for Orlando Pirates prior to forming Kaizer Chiefs.

Motaung, a former Orlando Pirates striker, moved to the USA to pursue a career as a professional footballer.

While in the USA, he played for Atlanta Chiefs from 1968 to 1971 and later played for Denver Dynamos from 1974 to 1975.

Kaizer Chiefs Logo
Kaizer Chiefs Logo

Both Motaung’s former clubs have since been dissolved.

However, the legacy of Atlanta Chiefs lives on, their name and logo are prominent part of the Kaizer Chiefs brand.


Early years

On January 24, 1970, Chiefs and Pirates had their first official meeting in the Rogue Beer Cup 3rd/ 4th place play off after they were both knocked out in the semi-finals. On that day, Pirates secured a hard earned 6-4 victory and a third place finish in the tournament.

Over the next 10 years, from 1970 to 1980, Kaizer Chiefs would turn tables on Orlando Pirates and open a gap that will see Chiefs remain ahead on head to head statistics to this day.

Chiefs defeated Pirates 2-1 in the Life Challenge Cup in the 1970-1971 in a replay match, this was after the first match finished 2-2 (e.a.t.) after extra time.

In 1972 and 1975, Chiefs humiliated Pirates with a 4 goal margin defeat, 7-3 and 5-1 respectively.

The following years, Pirates would return the favor in the Top 8 when they beat Chiefs 2-1 (e.a.t.). In the 1974-1975 season, Pirates would manage 1 victory over Chiefs 2, conceding 8 goals over Chiefs’ 5.

Chiefs would get the better of Pirates over and over again until the draw of 1981 in the FA Cup (today’s Nedbank Cup) which was played to 1-1 (a.e.t.). The match would later be replayed and Chiefs won by 3-1 and 4-2 on aggregate, continuing their dominance over Pirates.

In the 1983-1984 season. Chiefs would narrowly beat Pirates by a solitary goal in the final of the same cup.

In the 1987-1988 season, Pirates would finally beat Chiefs 1-0 in FA Cup final and this would mark their last meeting in the National Soccer League era.


Premier Soccer League Era

In 1996, the Premier Soccer League was launched after the National Soccer League and the remains of the National Premier Soccer League combined. More comprehensive records have been kept since.

In 1996, in the first Soweto Derby of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era, Pirates met Chiefs in the FA Cup semi-final (then BOB Save Super Bowl, now Nedbank Cup). On that day Jerry Sikhosana managed to put three goals past Brian Baloyi in a 4-1 Orlando Pirates victory. Since then, no player has been able to score three goals in a single Soweto Derby match.

The Most Famous Orlando Pirates Logo of the recent years
The Most Famous Orlando Pirates Logo of the recent years

1996 – 2000; Over the next four years up to the 1999-2000 season, Orlando Pirates had an upper hand over Kaizer Chiefs. Pirates beat Chiefs on 5 occasions in 12 meetings, of those 12 matches, 4 were played to a draw.

During this period, the success of Orlando would extend beyond South Africa, into Africa. After having won the African Cup of Champions Clubs in 1995 (now CAF Champions League), they went on to win the CAF Super Cup in 1996.

2000 – 2010; the next decade would belong to Chiefs. In 24 official meetings, Chiefs defeated Pirates on 8 occasions, and a further 2 times on penalties. In that time, Pirates only managed 5 victories, a remainder of those matches being played to draws.

Coincidentally, this period would also mark Chiefs success in Africa. In 2001, they won the African Cup Winners’ Cup which was merged with the CAF Cup in 2004 to form the today’s CAF Confederations Cup.

2010- to date; the better part of this decade has so far, by all accounts, belonged to Orlando Pirates.

In 2010 – 2011 season, The first league meeting, Chiefs home match was played to a 1-1 draw. On the return leg Pirates were hammered 3-1 by Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium in their league home match, less than a month later, they went down 3-0 to the same opposition (Chiefs), at the same venue in the League Cup Final (Telkom Knock Out Final.

Despite these being the biggest victory margins in the Soweto Derby since 1996, the season belonged to Pirates who won everything else including the league title and became the first South African club to win three official PSL cups in one season.

75 Anniversary Logo
75 Anniversary Logo

In 2011 – 2012; Pirates managed to edge out Chiefs by a narrow margin in a Top 8 final and successfully defended the title they had won in a previous season. In their first league meeting of the season Chiefs beat Pirates for third time in a row, the final score was 2-0. The return leg would see, probably the most exciting Soweto Derby since that of 1996. The game featured one of South Africa’s most loved and arguably, most successful footballer, Benni McCarthy.

In that match, Pirates went on the offensive from the start of the match, 27 minutes later, McCarthy had scored 2 goals and Pirates were 3-0 up. However, Chiefs staged a dramatic fight back, they were able to score 2 goals and the match finished 3-2 in favor of Pirates.

Orlando Pirates Logo Today
Orlando Pirates Logo Today

In that season, Pirates completed a second successive treble, wining the League Cup for the first time in history and celebrated their 75th Anniversary.

Chiefs, made record of their own. They finished the season without winning any trophy for the first time in years.

In 2012 – 2013; Pirates edged out Chiefs by a solitary goal in the Top 8 semi final. The return leg was played to a goalless draw and Pirates won 1-0 on aggregate. Both league matches were played to a goalless draw. Pirates glory of the two previous seasons quickly vanished and was forgotten when their arch-rivals secured a league and cup double.

In 2013 – 2014; The match was played at FNB stadium and ended in a 1-1 draw.



Down the years players and coaches have moved back and fourth between Pirates and Chiefs. Some player moves less amicable than others.

Most notably, legendary Kaizer Chiefs striker of the 80’s, Marks Maponyane. He spent 10 years at Chiefs, made 192 appearances, scored 85 goals (averaging a goal every second game). After a season with Dynamos, he went on to play for Pirates from 1992 to 1996.

In the recent years, perhaps Pirates have become notorious for signing once successful Chiefs strikers to no success at Pirates.

Siyabonga Nomvethe played 79 games and scored 42 goals for Chiefs from 1998 to 2001 before moving Italy’s Udinese. After being bounced around on loans in Earope, he returned to South Africa to be signed by Pirates where he played 14 games and scored only 4 goals. He would spend 3 season in Denmark at Aab and returned home to revive his career at another Soweto club, Moroka Swallows.

Jabu (Pulu) Mahlangu played 99 games and scored 27 goals for Chiefs; he spent a season at Pirates, playing 18 games and scoring only 1 goal.

Collins Mbesuma, at the peak of his career with Chiefs, where he spent just 1 season, Mbesuma averaged nearly a goal per match. In just 33 appearances he scored 27 goals. He has so far spent nearly 2 seasons at Pirates, made 13 appearances and scored only 4 times.

Pollen Ndlanya was an exception to the trend, he played 58 games in two spells for Chiefs and scored 28 goals. He went on to spend 2 seasons at Pirates, making 48 appearances and scoring 23 goals. The most successful spell at Pirates by a former Chiefs striker to date.

Lehlohonolo Majoro
Lehlohonolo Majoro

Lehlohonolo Majoro who made 57 appearances for Chiefs in 2 seasons, scoring 20 goals along the way, is the latest Chiefs striker to move to Pirates.

After being consistently benched by Chiefs in favor of fellow strikers Bernard Parker, Knowledge Musona and Kingston Nkhatha, he found himself at odds with club bosses.

Matters became worse when he reportedly snubbed a Kaizer Chiefs/ Supersport United swap deal to wait out his contract and later pursue a move to Orlando Pirates.

After all parties failed to meet the transfer window deadline, it looked like Majoro would spend the remaining six months of his Chiefs contract on the sidelines, that was until he was declared a free agent and later successfully made the much talked about move to Pirates.

Majoro made his first appearance for Pirates on March 12, 2014 as a substitute in a match against Moroka Swallows. Three day later, Majoro took part in his first Soweto Derby as Pirates player, he came in as a third and final substitution on the 81st minute. Pirates lost that match by 1-0.

Jimmy Tau was part of the young Pirates squad of the early 2000’s that won the league title in the 2002-2003 season and later captained Pirates before making a move to cross town rivals Chiefs where he had an equally successful career and later captained that side also before announcing his early retirement.



Augusto Palacios had two brief stints at Chiefs in 1990 and 1995. In 1996 he mentored the senior team at Pirates before spending years within the club’s youth structures, he later resurfaced when Pirates were at the all time high in 2012. At the time, Pirates held every PSL title on offer. He successfully defeated Kaizer Chiefs on March 17, 2012 and successfully defended the league title before making way for Roger De Sá following a string of bad results and failure to defend the Top 8.

Kosta Papic is another notable coach to have spent time at both clubs, 2 seasons at Pirates, less than a season at Chiefs.

Ted Dumitru, arguably, one of Chiefs, if not the most successful Kaizer Chiefs coach. Dimitru led Chiefs to their very first League title in the PSL era and defended it, and orchestrated 13 cups including those 2 league title in 2 tenures. He first coached Chiefs from 1985 to 1988 and returned in 2003 to 2005.

Dimitru led Pirates to a Top 8 in 2000.

Vladimir Vermezovic
Vladimir Vermezovic

Vladamir Vermezović was Chiefs head coach from 2009 to 2012, he was released from his contract after it became apparent that, for the first time in years, the club wasn’t going to win any trophy that season.

During his time at Chiefs, his problems had extended beyond the club and the game.

He had developed a bad relationship with the South African media after a few run-ins with it.

After nearly two seasons since he left the country, he has return. Although now contracted to Orlando Pirates since February 14, 2014, he led Orlando Pirates for the first time on March 12, 2014 in a match against another Soweto Club, Moroka Swallows.

In his first match, Vermezović gave his former player (while at Chiefs), Lehlohonolo Majoro his first appearance for Orlando Pirates since leaving Chiefs and subsequently signing for Pirates.

That match took place just 3 days before the 152nd installment of the Soweto Derby.

Vermezović partook in the first Soweto Derby as Pirates coach on March 15, 2014 and lost by 1-0.


Results, Official PSL matches only, All competitions


 Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs

Home Team
1996 FA Cup(Bob Save) unknown OPFC unknown 4-1    
1996-1997 PSL 1997-01-18 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-1    
1997-1998 PSL 1997-11-22 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-1  
1997-1998 PSL 1998-03-07 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-1  
1997-1998 FA Cup(Bob Save 2nd Round) 1998-03-27 KCFC unknown 0-1  
1998-1999 PSL 1998-10-09 KCFC FNB Stadium 2-2  
1998-1999 FA Cup(Bob Save 1st leg semi-final) 1998-10-31 KCFC unknown 3-1  
1998-1999 FA Cup(Bob Save 2nd leg semi-final 1998-11-14 OPFC unknown 1-0 Chiefs win 3-2 on Aggregate
1998-1999 PSL 1999-02-13 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-2
1999-2000 PSL 1999-11-20 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-0
1999-2000 PSL 2000-06-09 KCFC FNB Stadium 2-2
2000-2001 PSL 2000-11-29 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-1
2000-2001 PSL 2001-06-09 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-0
2001-2002 Top 8(semi-final) 2001-08-25 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-0
2001-2002 PSL 2001-12-15 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-3
2001-2002 PSL 2002-05-04 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-1
2002-2003 PSL 2002-12-07 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-1
2002-2003 PSL 2003-03-14 KCFC FNB Stadium 2-0
2003-2004 PSL 2003-12-13 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-0
2003-2004 PSL 2004-05-01 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-0
2004-2005 PSL 2004-10-29 OPFC Orlando Stadium 2-1
2004-2005 PSL 2005-04-29 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-1    
2005-2006 PSL 2005-10-28 KCFC FNB Stadium 2-0    
2005-2006 PSL 2006-05-09 OPFC Orlando Stadium 0-1    
2005-2006 FA Cup(ABSA cup – final) 2006-05-19 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-0 (5-3 pen)    
2006-2007 PSL 2006-12-08 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-1    
2006-2007 PSL 2007-04-27 OPFC Orlando Stadium 1-1    
2007-2008 PSL 2007-11-24 OPFC Orlando Stadium 2-2    
2007-2008 PSL 2008-05-10 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-0    
2008-2009 PSL 2008-11-15 KCFC   0-2    
2008-2009 PSL 2009-05-02 OPFC Orlando Pirates 2-1    
2009-2010 League Cup(TKO semi-final) 2009-04-05 OPFC FNB Stadium 0-0 (0-3 Pen)    
2009-2010 PSL 2009-10-31  KCFC Loftus Versfeld Stadium 0-0   40,000
2009-2010 PSL 2010-02-20 OPFC Orlando Pirates 0-0   14,000
2010-2011 Top 8(1st leg semi-final) 2010-09-11 OPFC FNB Stadium 1-1    
2010-2011 Top 8(2nd leg semi-final) 2010-09-26 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-1 Pirates win 2-1 on aggregate  
2010-2011 PSL 2010-11-12 OPFC FNB Stadium 1-3   74,875
2010-2011 League Cup(TKO final) 2010-12-03 OPFC FNB Stadium 0-3    
2010-2011 PSL 2011-02-26 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-1   92,515
2011-2012 Top 8 (final) 2011-09-10 OPFC FNB Stadium 1-0 A.E.T.  
2011-2012 PSL 2011-09-17 KCFC FNB Stadium 2-0   25,000
2011-2012 PSL 2012-03-17 OPFC FNB Stadium 3-2   87,171
  PSL 2012-12-08 OPFC FNB Stadium 0-0   84,000
2012-2013 PSL 2013-03-09 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-0   80,000
2013-2014 Top 8(1st leg semi-final) 2013-08-24 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-1   83,000
2013-2014 Top 8(2nd leg semi-final) 2013-09-24 OPFC Orlando Stadium 0-0 Pirates win 1-0 on aggregate 40,000
2013-2014 PSL 2013-10-25 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-1   80,000
2013-2014 PSL 2014-03-15 OPFC FNB Stadium 0-1   90,000
2014-2015 Top 8 Final 2014-09-20 OPFC Moses Mabhida Stadium 0-1 50,000
2014-2015 PSL 2014-12-06 OPFC FNB Stadium 0-2   71,286
2014-2015 PSL 2015-03-07 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-0 80,000
2015-2016 PSL 2015-10-31 KCFC FNB Stadium 1-3 90,000
2015-2016 Telkom Knockout 2015-11-07 KCFC FNB Stadium 0-0 Chiefs won 6-5 on Penalties 69,262
2015-2016 PSL 2016-01-30 OPFC FNB Stadium 1-1 90,000
2015-2016 Nedbank Cup 2016-03-05 OPFC FNB Stadium 2-0 30,000


Club Versus Country Controversy

The term ‘club versus country’ has become very popular in South Africa, particularly in the recent years. The cause of this arises from the national team heavily depending on Chiefs and Pirates players.

While these two Soweto Clubs have their own youth development structures, they also spend a lot of money acquiring players from other PSL clubs. No matter how talented these players are, a majority of them would never get a moment’s notice until they play for one of the ‘Soweto Giants’.

As a result, when Chiefs and Pirates refuse to release their players, the national team finds itself in trouble every time.

This problem extends beyond matches to general growth of the football in the country. Despite the emergence of clubs like Supersport United, Bloemfontein Celtic, Ajax Cape Town and BidVest Wits, the national team bosses continually refuse to look elsewhere to assemble the national squad.

At one point in 2013, a national team had a starting line up that was over 60% Kaizer Chiefs, the remainder being Orlando Pirates and one or two internationally based players.

In Gordon Igesund era as South African Senior Men’s National Football Team coach, Itumelemg Khune, Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Tsepo Masilela, Siboniso Gaxa and Morgan Gould have all become permanent fixtures in the national team. This is despite the fact that Tshabalala has the use of only one of his two legs and Bernard Parker has scored a majority of his goals from a penalty spot.

All these problems are as a result of the misunderstanding that the success of a club is not only attributed to talent but also to a healthy and well run organization.

The organizational structures at Chiefs and Pirates have never been perfect but they’ve always worked and this has been confused with the national team.



The success of Chiefs and Pirates has also come at an expense of many players, along the way, some managed to escape and forged successful careers away from Soweto.

At one point or another, just about every player coming up in the ranks of South African football will fancy their chances of playing in Soweto.

The story that is never told is that of the players who spend a good part of their careers languishing on the benches of these Soweto Clubs.



These two Soweto Clubs are among the most heavily sponsored clubs in the world. The Soweto Derby match is likely to be watched (at the stadium) by more people than any South African national team match played in South Africa regardless of the opposition.

This has also seen many players opting to play in Soweto than going overseas, others returning from overseas early in their careers due to better financial compensation in Soweto.


Premier Soccer League (PSL) Leadership

Dr. Irvin Khoza (Owner and Chairman of Orlando Pirates fc) is also the chairman of the PSL and Kaizer Motaung (Owner and Chairman of Kaizer Chiefs fc) is the vice-chairman of the PSL. Both men are credited as co-founders of the Premier Soccer League (PSL).


Stadium Disasters

Over the years there has been two stadium disasters with a total of 85 combined fatalities. .


Oppenheimer Stadium disaster

In 1991,  a pre-season friendly was scheduled for January 13 at Oppenheimer Stadium, Orkney, North West, South Africa. At the time, the stadium had the capacity to hold 23, 000 spectators but a reported approximately 30,000 spectators were admitted.

During the match the referee upheld a Chiefs goal which Pirates fans deemed questionable. Supposedly, Pirates fans began throwing objects at Chiefs fans, chaos ensued and quickly escalated in to a stampede as people attempted to escaped the ensuing fracas.

In the aftermath of the incident 42 people had been crushed and trampled to death. At the time it was the worst sporting disaster in South African sports.


Ellis Park Stadium disaster

An official PSL match was scheduled for Wednesday night on April 11, 2001 at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. It has long been clear that spectators over-spilled from the stands on the press boxes as a result of overcrowding.

However, reports have varied from an addition 30, 000, about further half over the stadium maximum capacity to at least 60, 000 which would suggest that nearly double the capacity may have been allowed to enter the stadium due to lack of oversight.

Other reports suggest that securities who were untrained in crowd control may have used teargas not realizing that it would do more damage and further exacerbate the situation.

On that day 43 people lost their lives, the accident remains the worst sporting accident in the history of South African sport.

The commission of inquiry into the incident, set up by then South African President Thabo Mbeki, concluded that a major cause was bribed security personnel admitting fans without tickets into the stadium and poor crowd control.