By Ronald Mpaso:
Malawi national football team striker, Gabadinho Mhango, is set to witness his first Soweto derby as an Orlando Pirates player from the sidelines this afternoon.
Pirates and bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs lock horns in a return of the unofficial season curtain raiser Carling Black Label Cup (CBLC) at FNB Stadium.
Mhango is not in the starting line-up as supporters did not vote for him despite scoring the two goals that saw Pirates edge South African Premier Soccer League debutants Stellenbosch 2-1 in a friendly last week.
Instead, Pirates fans opted for Zambian forwards Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga to lead their frontline.
The Malawian signed a three-year deal at Pirates from Bidvest Wits.
Other notable additions to the Bucaneers’ squad such as Tshegofatso Mabasa, Siphesihle Ndlovu and Fortune Makaringe were also not voted into the first eleven.
Supporters select starting line-ups for both teams through a voting system with two fans standing the chance to sit on their respective team’s bench as ‘Champion Coaches’.
The fans also voted on ‘Game Changer’ rules to further strengthen their influence on the match.
The crunching tie returns after missing out last year and could see Chiefs completing a hat-trick of triumphs after wins in 2016 and 2017.
According to supersport. com, Amakhosi trail Pirates 4-3 in overall CBLC wins.
Chiefs did not bag any silverware last season and will be desperate to get back to winning ways.
Pirates themselves have not won a major competition since the 2014 Nedbank Cup.