Orlando Pirates' Soweto Derby heroes

Benni McCarthy celebrates scoring for Orlando Pirates Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Saturday's Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is crying out for a hero as the teams seek inspiration to claim what would be a massive victory for either side.

With the match an 82 000 sell-out at FNB Stadium and millions more watching on television, it is the perfect platform for reputations to be forged as the Soweto duo try to mount a league title challenge after a number of barren seasons.

KweséESPN delves into the history books and comes up with the top individual Orlando Pirates performances in the history of South Africa's biggest football match.

The finest hour for the Buccaneers in the history of the derby was their biggest winning margin over Chiefs, a 5-1 triumph in 1990. Not only did Chiefs suffer a major humiliation against their archrivals, but the result effectively ended any chance they had of catching Mamelodi Sundowns in the title chase. Pirates were playing under stand-in coach Johannes 'Skipper' Khomane after Dave Roberts had been fired five weeks earlier. The former fullback, a veteran of many derby matches, could not resist rubbing it in afterwards: "Kaizer Chiefs are a very ordinary side." Anley capped an outstanding performance with the last two goals in the 69th and 81st minutes. Chiefs' defence had been virtually non-existent, especially after Mark Tovey had been dropped. "You could have driven a bus through it," wrote one reporter.

In the months leading up to Bafana Bafana's debut at the 1998 World Cup finals in France, Lekoelea's performance in the Bob Save Super Bowl second round match between the two teams earned him a call-up to the national squad being put together by Philippe Troussier. Lekoelea's individual skill stood out even in the face of Humphrey Mlwane's tight marking. "Doctor [Khumalo] was calling out to me, saying I shouldn't run too much because when he had the ball I just went at him. He couldn't take it," Lekoelea said afterwards. The game's only goal came in a moment of brilliance from Pirates' Nigerian international Sam Pam. "That goal will remain in my mind for a long time. As I was about to take the free-kick, I saw [goalkeeper] Brian [Baloyi] forming his line," explained Pam. "He kept his left side open, but it was obvious he was jockeying me to put the ball that way. I knew he was going to move. But he took seconds to start moving and the ball was moving faster than him!" The result allowed Pirates a chance to redeem a disappointing season and also turned Pam into an instant hero.

Second-half substitute 'Mtofi' Khumalo was given a hero's reception at the end of the second leg of the 1981 Champions of Champions final at the Orlando Stadium after engineering a remarkable victory for Pirates, who were two goals down on aggregate before he was brought on and changed the outcome of the tie. Not even the most die-hard of Pirates fans believed a comeback was possible but Khumalo, who had not exactly set Pirates alight since his move from Durban two years previously, turned the result right around. Kagiso Mogale provided the first for Khumalo in the 64th minute with a defence-splitting pass, and he got his second soon after. Jingles Pereira handled the ball to present Pirates with a chance to win the trophy in the final minute of the game, which Khumalo duly converted to set off jubilant scenes of celebration.

The young striker, who tragically passed away in car crash in 2003, put his individual seal on the derby in December 2001 when he showed his increasing maturity and deadly composure by twice tucking the ball beyond Brian Baloyi from close range. The first goal came in the 22nd minute and his second 50 minutes later as Pirates went on to post a 3-0 win against a struggling Chiefs side.

The 1975 Life Challenge Cup final was physical battle of attrition, punctuated by numerous fouls, and settled six minutes into extra time by Lichaba, who had been one of Pirates' stars of the season and was a fitting author of Pirates' third successive victory in the Life Challenge Cup final. Lichaba, after dribbling past two defenders, hit a drive that Chiefs goalkeeper Jimmy Bene watched as it sailed into his net. The goal proved decisive after the game had been forced into extra-time, level at 1-1.

In October 1994, Maponyane joined an elite band who had scored in the derby in the colours of both sides. Before him only Blessing Mgidi, Jerry Sadike and Donald 'Ace' Khuse had achieved the feat. A 2-0 victory edged Pirates closer to what was to prove a controversial championship win. Pirates scored first in the 36th minute when Maponyane crossed for Marc Batchelor to deliver a spectacular diving header. Three minutes later Maponyane could have made it 2-0, but face to face with Steve Crowley he hesitated and allowed the keeper to regain his balance and tip his shot over the top. Referee Raymond Rogers awarded Pirates a penalty some 15 minutes from the end when Rudolph Seale brought down Maponyane, who got up to take it and seal the result.

Schoolboy wizard Sono was the hero of the day as Pirates took the points with a second-half winner from Alfred 'Russia' Jacobs in their league meeting in 1972. Sono was carried high on the shoulders of the supporters after the win, and the fans formed a guard of honour for the Pirates players as they left the stadium after the game. Sono and MacDonald Skosana both had chances in the first 10 minutes, but were denied by Setlhodi. Chiefs lacked their customary flair but were still able to score the first goal. Goalkeeper Setlhodi netted a penalty for Chiefs, but an equaliser followed soon after when Jacobs fed Blessing Mgidi, who in turned passed diagonally for Skosana to rattle the back of the net. Mgidi missed a sitter after half-time, but Jacobs finally ensured the lead for Pirates when he unleashed a long-range shot. Sono then kept the crowd dazzled until the final whistle.

In the 1996 Bob Save Super Bowl semifinal, Sikhosana scored the first hat-trick in 15 years in the derby match as he catapulted Pirates to the cup final. The hat-trick was completed by the 47th minute already. It was one of the best games of the season, but the Buccaneers could have had eight goals and gave Chiefs the same sort of run around in the last 10 minutes that Chiefs were used to dishing out to other teams. Sikhosana opened the score in the 18th minute and made it 2-0 just before half-time. He got his third just after the break before David Modise pulled one back for a shell-shocked AmaKhosi. Helman Mkhalele made it four in the 76th minute, and Pirates went on to beat Jomo Cosmos in the final three weeks later.

McCarthy had two successful seasons at Pirates in the twilight of his career, which included two goals in the Soweto Derby in 2012 as The Buccaneers won a five-goal thriller 3-2. Pirates led 3-0 after 24 minutes as McCarthy capitalised on a piece of good fortune when Chiefs defender Keegan Ritchie tripped over the ball, allowing the veteran striker to score. After Andile Jali had added a second, McCarthy provided an excellent finish into the top corner after a mazy run from Tlou Segolela. Siphiwe Tshabalala and Lehlohonolo Majoro pulled goals back for Chiefs to set up a nervous final 20 minutes for Pirates, but they were able to hold on.