28 May 2014
Voting in the Carling Black Label Cup voting has been open for just a matter of weeks, but already over 5.3-million votes have been cast for the classic showdown between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium outside Soweto on 26 July.
The massive number of votes emphasises not only the popularity of the two clubs, and also one of the football world’s great rivalries, but also the popularity of the unique concept, which allows the fans of both teams to vote for the players they would like to see start the contest.
In 2013, an amazing 22.2-million votes were cast, which improved on the previous year’s voting by 2.2-million. In 2011, when the event kicked off for the first time, 10.5-million votes were cast.
Voting for fans this year has been made more easily accessible than previously. It takes place on the Carling Black Label website – www.carlingblacklabel.co.za
Already, there are some surprises in the Kaizer Chiefs’ line-up, with the most eye- catching one being the exclusion of the 2013/2014 PSL season’s top-scorer Bernard Parker. Fans have voted for Knowledge Musona and Katlego Mphela to start ahead of Parker. However, he is not far behind them and could still make the starting XI.
The midfield has a very familiar look to it, with wide players George Lebese and Siphiwe Tshabalala, as well as strong-men Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Willard Katsande operating in the engine room. George Maluleka, though, is just a few thousand votes off the pace and could well win his place in the starting line-up if the AmaKhosi fans get behind him.
Siboniso Gaxa and Tsepo Masilela are the two fullbacks selected so far, while Tefu Mashamaite and Erick Mathoho are the preferred central defensive partnership.
Not surprisingly perhaps, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is the elite choice between the sticks, and once again has the most votes of any player on either side, almost three times as many as his opposite number Senzo Meyiwa from Orlando Pirates.
Meyiwa is the top pick among the Pirates’ goalkeepers and it looks unlikely that either Fatau Dauda or Brighton Mhlongo will unseat him.
Happy Jele and Thabo Matlaba lead the choices at fullback, while the ever popular Siyabonga Sangweni is among the central defensive selections despite not having featured for much of the last 15 months due to injury.
He has so far been paired with Rooi Mahamutsa, with that duo keeping skipper Lucky Lekgwathi out of the side. That situation could still change, however.
Orlando Pirates fans have so far gone for the pace of Tlou Segolela on the right wing and the guile of Daine Klate on the left.
Oupa Manyisa will anchor the midfield along with playmaker Sifiso Myeni, though Thandani Ntshumayelo will hope to get enough votes to force him into the starting line-up.
Lehlohonolo Majoro, who scored the winning goal for Kaizer Chiefs against Orlando Pirates in the fixture last year, has since switched sides and is now a Buccaneer. He has been incredibly popular with The Ghost since his arrival and that shows in the voting as he is the most favoured striker among supporters.
He is currently selected to play with Kermit Erasmus to play alongside him, with Lennox Bacela a fairly distant third and on the bench.
How to vote
The concept sees supporters vote for the starting line-ups of the Soweto giants until 22 July. Fans can do this by purchasing a Carling Black Label beer and either dialing *120*764* or going to www.carlingblacklabel.co.za.
The Carling Black initiative also comes with an experience of a lifetime for two lucky fans, one representing Kaizer Chiefs and the other Orlando Pirates. The two “consumer coaches” will be selected to be coaches of their respective teams on game day and get to be with their teams at training, sit in the pre-match briefing and be part of the dug-out with their favourite team.
In order to be eligible for the competition, Champion Coaches must vote either via their cellphones or at www.carlingblacklabel.co.za a minimum of 11 times.
Fans can further join the Coaches Forum to take their coaching credentials to the next level with exclusive interviews and content, improved player stats and a chance to win a share of R3-million airtime or tickets to the game.
The Carling Black Label Cup has been a massive hit with fans since its inception in 2011. Orlando Pirates won the first two matches on penalties, before Kaizer Chiefs claimed their first title last season with a 1-0 victory.
VOTES (as of 25 May)
Kaizer Chiefs: Itumeleng Khune (816 131), Siboniso Gaxa (100 790), Tefu Mashamaite (121 439), Erick Mathoho (141 111), Tsepo Masilela (110 158), George Lebese (129 715), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (120 184), Willard Katsande (112 675), Siphiwe Tshabalala (137 048), Katlego Mphela (236 877), Knowledge Musona (268 132)
Orlando Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa (378 236), Happy Jele (87 154), Siyabonga Sangweni (81 877), Rooi Mahamutsa (77 757), Thabo Matlaba (91 856), Tlou Segolela (71 238), Oupa Manyisa (105 849), Sifiso Myeni (55 459), Daine Klate (71 238), Lehlohonolo Majoro (169 571), Kermit Erasmus (145 007)