Preview - Cosmos v Chiefs
Describing any meeting between Jomo Cosmos and Kaizer Chiefs as just another game does little justice to the fervent emotions stirred whenever these two teams clash.
So when the brilliance and artistry of the 'Amakhosi' and the guile of a sturdy 'Ezenkosi' go head-to-head in a crunch Castle Premiership match at Orkney Stadium on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 3.45pm), a fiery encounter seems a given.
Although in theory, there is nothing more than pride at stake - especially between club bosses Jomo Sono and Kaizer Motaung - both teams will be gunning for maximum points, with the title race still wide open.
The players, of course, will be all too aware of the potential trouble that awaits them back home if they lose - but both teams will be looking to continue with their recent form; especially the free-scoring Cosmos, who have scored nine goals in their last three unbeaten matches.
After walloping the obdurate BidVest Wits 4-0 during the week - thus ending the 'Students' unbeaten run at home since being promoted at the beginning of the season - Cosmos will be without their former leading marksman Chris Katango, who now plies his trade in Denmark for Brondby IF.
'Ezenkosi' are currently in sixth-place on the Premiership standings on 25 points, just three points adrift of the second-placed Chiefs who have played a game more.
And speedy midfielder Dikgang Mabalane, who scored the fourth goal against Wits, remains defiant that their winning formula will not be tempered with come matchday.
"We have been marvellous and have proved antagonists wrong that there is life after Chris," Mabalane said. "We will miss him but life must go on!"
He added: "We play as a unit. Chiefs will find a more purposeful and hungrier Cosmos on Sunday and that is the reason we are taking them to Orkney.
"It promises to be a thriller and the supporters will be entertained for the whole 90 minutes."
Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp claims the league title is the one that matters the most, with his team having suffered a shock loss in this season's inaugural Telkom Knockout. And, after losing their opening Premiership match in the New Year against SuperSport United, Chiefs restored their image by getting past Benoni Premier United.
"We want the league and it is important that we see-off Cosmos. They held us to a 2-2 draw at home and it is payback time," Middendorp warned.
"We are minus Shaun Bartlett, as you know, but we have good players who can steer us to glory," he continued.
"The guys know that the pressure is now mounting and we cannot afford any slip-ups.
"The playing surface in Orkney is not the best - but there is nothing we do we just have to go out there and fight for the three points.
By Patrick Baloyi