Soweto Derby: African stars that have shone at one of Africa’s fiercest derbies


South Africa’s Soweto Derby, rated amongst the top derbies on the African continent as well as the rest of the world takes place on Saturday, 09 March as Orlando Pirates plays host to old-time foes, Kaizer Chiefs.

Set to take place at the iconic FNB Stadium that hosted Africa’s first ever FIFA World Cup Opening and Closing ceremonies, the fixture that dates back to 24 January 1970 is set to bring the entire nation to a complete halt.

Not only has the fixture contributed to the rich history of the nation’s football, but a number of African players from beyond the South African borders have shone bright in the tie.

CAFOnline takes a look at African greats that have made a name for themselves in this iconic fixture:


Kaizer Chiefs FC Legends:

Eshele Botende – DR Congo

The ever flamboyant and acrobatic Eshele Botende was one of the best goalkeepers to play in South Africa during the early 90s. The DR Congo-born shot stopper appeared for Chiefs 97 times and played three Soweto derbies and did not concede a single goal.


Knowledge Musona - Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean striker, who joined Kaizer Chiefs at the tender age of 19 was a menace to the Orlando Pirates defence. One of his best performances came in 2010 when he single-handedly won the tie for Chiefs with a brace and forcing an own goal for a 3-1 victory over Pirates.


Patrick Mabedi - Malawi

The man who hails from Malawi and now heads up the senior men’s national team, Patrick Mabedi was rock solid at the back for Amakhosi. As captain, Mabedi was key in marshalling the Chiefs defense in tightly contested affairs against the Pirates.


Orlando Pirates FC Legends:

Williams Okpara - Nigeria

Orlando Pirates have over the years brought some of Nigeria’s best football talents to South Africa. Undoubtedly one of the club’s greatest goalkeepers, Williams Okpara has been instrumental in a number of Soweto derby wins over Chiefs before his retirement as long-time servant of the club.


Onyekachi Okonkwo - Nigeria

Came to the club as a youngster in 1997, Sam Pam went on to become Pirates captain and surprisingly a free-kick specialist when it was not so popular back then.


Dennis Lota - Zambia

The late Dennis Lota was a menace to Kaizer Chiefs during his time with the Buccaneers. The Zambian international would go on to be one of the club’s best imports. One of his best performances in the Soweto derby came in the 1999/2000 edition where he scored in a 2-2 draw against Chiefs.


Who to look out for in this new era: 

Some of the best African talent continues to showcase itself at both clubs. Ahead of the clash on Saturday, players like Edmilson Dove who was with Mozambique at the recent TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 will certainly be a key figure in defense.

For Pirates, Namibia’s Deon Hotto who got a goal for the Brave Warriors against Tunisia that helped them advance to the knockout stages of the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON for the first time in the nation’s history will certainly be one of the players to watch. 


Kick-Off at the FNB Stadium on Saturday is at 13h30 GMT.