Only a select few manage to fulfil their childhood dreams of playing in a Soweto Derby – Erick Mathoho is one of them, and he’s heading into battle once more this afternoon.
The centre back was given an extended rest and left out of the Chiefs squad that did the business against Chippa United earlier in the week, but he’s expected to take his place back in the XI today when they face off against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium.
Today’s clash will be the 14th time that Mathoho will meet the Buccaneers in an Absa Premiership counter since his arrival from Bloemfontein Celtic, and wins have been few and far between – winning just two of the 13 matches he’s featured in, drawing eight.
He’ll be hoping to improve that record come 17h00 tonight, and he insists that Ernst Middendorp’s side are ready for the threat posed by their bitter rivals.
Speaking to Chiefs’ official website the defender said, “It’s going to be tough and they definitely won’t go easy on us… The nature of the Derby is such that even if a team is not doing well. When Chiefs play Pirates everyone lifts their game. But we are ready for any challenge especially this season. We must fight the full 90 minutes and we want to get the three points.
“Personally, I don’t focus on the stats, I just want to go out there and do well. We might not have been doing well last season, but this season we are much improved, and I can’t wait for the game.”
‘Tower’ also opened up on his life-long dream to play in this fixture, one that he’s now incredibly familiar with, saying, “When I was young, I always watched Chiefs and Pirates play. I said to myself that one day I will play for Chiefs against Pirates. Now that I have played and hopefully will play in the Derby this Saturday and many more in the future, I am happy to have realised a life-long dream.
“I enjoy the Derby, it’s hard for me to explain, but I love it – the atmosphere and everything. We play many games in a season against good teams but the Derby against Pirates is what I have dreamt about playing.”
Take a look at Chiefs' squad availability in the gallery below: