Jerry Sikhosana relives last Soweto Derby hat-trick
It has been 22 years since a hat-trick was scored in the Soweto Derby, when Orlando Pirates forward Jerry Sikhosana bagged three goals to sink Kaizer Chiefs in a famous performance that he does not even count as his best in South Africa's biggest football fixture.
Pirates crushed Chiefs 4-1 in that 1996 Bob Save Super Bowl encounter, a day Sikhosana remembers vividly as he admits The Buccaneers had gone into the game fearing what had been a rampant Chiefs side.
But it was a sparkling performance from Pirates in the end, and one that Sikhosana hopes to see repeated when the two clubs meet in a league Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
"I was suspended for our game against Real Rovers the weekend before and we lost [0-3] against them," Sikhosana tells KweséESPN.
"Then Chiefs played the same Real Rovers in midweek and beat them with an avalanche of goals, I think five or six [5-0].
"So we had this fear about facing them, they had thrashed the same Real Rovers that we had lost heavily to the week before.
"The talk among the fans was that Pirates could not do it, that we were going to lose because of how these two games against Real Rovers had gone. It was really tense in training, you could feel the players were really nervous about it."
Sikhosana returned to the Pirates team for their midweek encounter, a 3-1 victory over Michau Warriors in which he netted a brace.
"I felt on form, those two goals helped me going into the Derby. But honestly, I think a lot of us felt like we must just go and try and protect ourselves, protect our image and get a satisfactory result.
"There was a fear about this Chiefs side that was on form, we were scared." But the game proved quite different as Sikhosana used his pace to terrorise the Chiefs defence and the best-laid plans of Pirates coach Viktor Bondarenko proved successful.
"The first goal was a corner-kick in the first half," Sikhosana remembers. "Because I was not a good header of the ball, I drifted away from the mix of players as the corner was played, taking a position wider in the box.
"It was a long corner from Dumisa Ngobe that went over everybody to the other side of the 18-yard [area] where I was. I took one touch and just blasted it past everybody.
"It was such a good hit, honestly I think it was one of the best goals in my career. As everybody was turning to see where the ball went, it had flown past them."
Sikhosana added a second in the first half as Pirates stunned Chiefs again.
"The second goal was more about being a little bit mobile. I drifted to the right-hand side and received a pass from John Moeti. Neil Tovey came across to try and cover, but I sold him a dummy and went on to shoot past Brian [Baloyi] at the near post."
The third goal arrived two minutes after half-time and Sikhosana says he owes this one to the skills of former Pirates winger Helman Mkhalele.
"Helman took Chiefs to shreds on the wing and sent a cross into the box. I came in from behind the defence and used my left foot to score. It was very scrappy, but they all count!"
Chiefs pulled one back through David Modise, before Mkhalele added a fourth for Pirates to complete the rout.
Only two other players -- Chiefs' Ebison Mugoyo (1975) and Pirates' Henry Khumalo (1981) -- have managed Derby hat-tricks, putting Sikhosana among an elite group.
But despite his heroics, he says this was not his finest Derby moment. That, he reveals came some months later in January 1997, which he says is his fondest memory of South Africa's biggest football fixture.
"My best Derby was when we beat Chiefs 1-0 at Ellis Park in the league game. The reason I say it was my highlight, even though it was a scrappy goal against Brian Baloyi, is because in the week before we were together in the Bafana Bafana camp going to play Zambia.
"Not only that, but Brian was my roommate and the whole week he had been teasing me, saying there was no way I could score past him, no way I could get a goal.
"After I scored I turned to him and said 'who's the boss now' even though in truth it was not a nice goal. But it was such a nice moment for me and that friendship with Brian lasts to this day. We are still the best of friends."
Sikhosana admits that the football in recent Derby matches has not been the best and hopes that both sides on Saturday will try to win the game, rather than go in not to lose. "It has been disappointing recently. For Saturday I just wish sparks can fly and we can see goals, not teams hold back in fear.
"If both teams have a go at each other, that is what we want to see. End-to-end passion. That would satisfy the supporters."