Parker missed Chiefs’ 1-0 win over Baroka in the DStv Premiership this past weekend due to injury, but is now available for selection for coach Stuart Baxter and his technical team.
The game will be the 102nd league meeting between the two Soweto giants, and Parker cannot contain his excitement at the possibility of facing the team’s arch-rivals again in what would be his 30th Soweto Derby.
“Yes I am happy to be back and always ready to play in these types of games. We live for these games – you want to be involved in this game because it is one of the biggest derbies on the continent. It is always an honour to play in this match,” confirmed Parker to the club website.
Parker is gearing up for what could be his 21st league game against Pirates as he chases Siphiwe Tshabalala’s PSL era appearance record in derbies against Pirates.
“I am very proud to reach such a milestone. It is always with joy and a host of other good emotions that I look ahead to this game. The build- up, the hype, the talk, the history… it’s an exciting feeling,” says Parker.
With his former teammate Tshabalala having played in 31 derbies overall and 22 in the league, Parker will be just one behind should he feature this weekend.
“One of the best derbies I featured in was captaining the team in the 100th league derby last season, which we won. While I would describe these games as always being a nerve-wracking encounter, I never want to lose against Pirates,” says Parker.
Chiefs will be boosted by the return of Parker and will take confidence from winning four of their last five league games against Pirates
With his experience of the derby going back 11 years, Parker is well accustomed to how to manage playing against Pirates.
“With Pirates style of play and movement, they can always be a hiccup. They have good flair. How to contain that is a challenge. With my experience I know how to contain and manage that,” stated Parker.