19 June 2014
One of the world’s great club football rivalries will be on show on 26 July when Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates clash at the FNB Stadium outside Soweto in the Carling Black Label Cup, a unique contest which allows the fans to select the teams’ starting line-ups. Former Chiefs striker Shane MacGregor and former Pirates striker Jerry Sikhosana believe the unique nature of the Cup make it one of the greatest features on the South African football calendar. MacGregor, who was a star striker for Kaizer Chiefs between 1987 and 1994, believes the players he played with would have loved the Carling Black Label Cup concept.
‘Great, something unique’
“I know they all would have thought it was great, something unique that would be really special to be part of,” MacGregor said in a statement on Thursday. “The chance to be involved in a game of this magnitude, with the teams selected by the fans, is a brilliant idea and something our local football should be proud of.”
MacGregor said the concept also has a serious side and that fans need to be wary of selecting their favourite players only. “In my day, you had a guy like Wellington Manyathi, who was not the most popular player but was vital as to how we played. His robust play in the midfield and ball-winning ability helped to frustrate the opponents, and by doing so created space for his teammates to play in. “These types of players are usually not flashy or full of tricks, but crucial in how a team operates and what makes them tick. Fans will have to look at the formation of the side and decide which players will go best together.’
Assessing what the Amakhosi’s line-up might look like, MacGregor added: “It looks like it will be a 4-4-2 again for Chiefs this year, which is good news as two strikers up front could work in their favour.
“It is surprising, though, that midfielder Willard Katsande has dropped out of the starting XI because his ball-winning skills in the center of the park are a big plus for the team. Perhaps he will still be voted back in.” On the Orlando Pirates’ side, legendary striker Jerry Sikhosana said he also enjoys the Carling Black Label Cup concept and believes they have the squad to win back the trophy this year. Pirates won the first two Carling Black Label Cup titles in 2011 and 2012, but were beaten last year by a goal from Lehlohonolo Majoro, who this year will be appearing in the colours of The Buccaneers.
“All three previous matches in the Carling Black Label Cup have been very tight, either going to penalties or being decided by just one goal, so it will be how the strikers perform on the day that will be vital,” the man known as “Legs of Thunder” in his playing days said.
“Orlando Pirates strikers will want to do well this year, because if you are a striker and your opposition is Kaizer Chiefs, all you want is to score, you want to prove a point. In Soweto derbies you often get just a few chances, because the teams are so well matched and the standard so high, but you have to grab those chances when they come,” he added.
Sikhosana believes the Buccaneers have scored a potent weapon in Majoro, as he can unlock any defence, but needs the right kind of player next to him.
“Someone like Lennox Bacela, who can hold the ball up well, would be a good pick next to him, with Kermit Erasmus maybe being used more out wide to utilize his pace.”
Supporters still have six weeks to vote for the starting line-ups of the Soweto giants before voting closes on 22 July at midnight.
To find out how to vote, fans can visit the Carling Black Label website – www.carlingblacklabel.co.za The Carling Black initiative comes with an experience of a life time for two lucky fans; one representing Kaizer Chiefs and the other Orlando Pirates.
The two “Champion Coaches” will have breakfast with their team, attend team training sessions, be part of the announcement of the starting line-ups live on national TV, sit in on the pre-match briefing, and take their place on the bench with their favourite team on match day.
In order to be eligible for the competition, those wishing to be Champion Coaches must vote a minimum of 11 times. Fans can further join the Coaches Forum to take their coaching credentials to the next level. SAinfo reporter