Chiefs and Swallows renew Soweto rivalry

football29 February 2024 16:38| © Backpage TXT

Kaizer Chiefs face Moroka Swallows in a Soweto derby on Saturday, with both teams desperate for a win to boost flagging confidence.

Chiefs are still licking their wounds from a Nedbank Cup first-round exit at the hands of second-tier Milford FC, while Swallows are winless in almost four months since a 1-0 home victory against TS Galaxy.

Here are five facts from this rivalry between two of the most storied teams in South African football.


When you think Soweto Derby, Chiefs versus Orlando Pirates comes to mind, but this is a local rivalry that in its heyday was also fierce and, especially through the 1970s and 80s, AmaKhosi and the Birds battled one another for silverware.

They first clashed in the league in July 1971, a year after Chiefs’ formation, and it was Swallows who came out on top with a 4-2 win.

Percy Moloi, freshly arrived following a shock move from Pirates, scored a brace to go with goals from Winston Radebe and Moses Maseko. Pule ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe scored twice for Chiefs.


Chiefs do not have a home win against Swallows since 2012 and have had only three victories on their own patch against their local rivals in almost 20 years.

They completed wins in 2006, 2011 and 2012, but for the rest have either lost (three times) or drawn (five times) since the start of the 2005/06 season.

When they did last secure a victory, Reneilwe Letsholonyane scored a brace and Lehlohonolo Majoro got the other. Georgian Giorgi Nergadze (remember him?) was still in the Swallows side!


It is more common for players to move between Swallows and Chiefs, than Chiefs and Pirates, though in some notable instances players have featured for all three! 

The late Marc Batchelor, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Collins Mbesuma and Thabang Lebese are notable examples, but there have also been other more recent moves.

The AmaKhosi signed a trio of Swallows players before the 2022/23 season – Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Dillon Solomons and Lehlogonolo Matlou, though it is fair to say there have been mixed results.

Darrel Matsheke and Lebohang Lesako moved in the other direction on loan. The season before Chiefs signed another trio from The Birds – Kgaogelo Sekgota, Sifiso Hlanti and Njabulo Ngcobo and sent Yagan Sasman and Given Thibedi in the other direction.


When Abednigo ‘Shaka’ Ngcobo scored after just 10 seconds for Chiefs against Swallows in 1976, it was at the time the fastest recorded goal in South African soccer history.

It remains a joint record to this day, though just how accurate the time-keeping was back then without live television coverage is unknown.

Aleni Lebyane for Free State Stars v Santos (2010) and just recently Peter Shalulile for Mamelodi Sundowns against Chiefs (2023) were also clocked at 10 seconds.


The recent exit of former Chiefs coach Steve Komphela at Swallows has left Musa Nyatama in charge of the side.

A former midfielder for the club, it is not his first time at the helm, but he has been handed an excellent opportunity to prove his worth and perhaps launch his top-flight career as the main man in the dugout.

The AmaKhosi’s interim coach Cavin Johnson has seen it all before but needs to win over the fans – and club management – if he is to get the job on a permanent basis. For both, victory this weekend would be a huge step forward.