Soweto Derby is expected to be sold out - Bertie Grobbelaar

Soweto Derby is expected to be sold out - Bertie Grobbelaar

With only two days to the eagerly anticipated Soweto Derby between arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, more than 55 000 tickets have been sold for the DStv Premiership clash at FNB Stadium.

Speaking to SABC Sport earlier in the week, Stadium Management South Africa’s (SMSA) Managing Director Bertie Grobbelaar had predicted that tickets could be sold out by today.

Grobbelaar says the planned capacity has been set at 84 700 for this derby but there could still be more than 95 000 people around the precinct, including vendors and security personnel.

"So there are still tickets available. From a historical perspective, I think we will be sold out by, let's say, Thursday. The planned capacity for this event is 84 700," said Grobbelaar.

"I also think what plays a role is that it's February month and, [before] the 25th, most of the working public has not been paid yet – there's definitely a change in purchasing patterns over the course of events this season but I think this will contribute to some late sales."

On the reduced capacity, which at the Calabash is known to be 94 000-plus.

"Remember there are seat-kills for the cameras, there's a safe capacity to comply with the SASRIA regulations, but in the precinct – if you take into account all the service providers involved in the event, you'll have around 96 000 people in the precinct on event day."

One of the biggest concerns coming to this weekend’s derby has been the condition of the pitch, which hosted the Imagine Dragons music concert two weeks ago, but Grobbelaar is confident it will be in immaculate condition come Saturday.

"I told the guys, with the concert on 4 February, the pitch covers for the stage and 8 000 people on the pitch, I'm going to be killed by the press after the Derby because we won't be ready," he explained.

"We then started a structured 24/7, detailed plan in the putting together of the stage and where people can walk, which was very strictly enforced. I must say we were also blessed with the weather – it was rainy and coldish, so there wasn't warm weather killing the pitch.

"So, I'm quietly confident that we will produce a pitch on Saturday that will surprise the fans."