The wait for the biggest pre-season game in South African football is almost over, In just less than a hour  the giants of local football will lock horns in the game-changing Carling Black Label Cup, to be played at Orlando Stadium this afternoon .

With so much excitement around the Carling Black Label Cup which makes a return after its absence in 2020.

Voting for the first substitution on match day will close in the 45th minute. The first substitutes will be announced and made in the 55th minutes. The man of the match award will be voted for between the 70th minute and the end of the encounter. Champions fans are encouraged to vote for their preferred substitutes using SMS, Twitter and via the USSD code. The man of the match will be voted for on Twitter and via USSD. 

To build-up to this exciting encounter, Carling Black Label hosted a virtual media conference on Wednesday, July 21, at the FNB Stadium in Soweto to provide an update on proceedings, with Carling Black Brand Director Arné Rust, ex-footballers Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Phumudzo Manenzhe, Dikgang Mabalane and Amanda Dlamini in attendance, as well as surprise guest Benni McCarthy.

“The response from our fans has been absolutely electric. If you see the numbers of votes we have received, we are over 2 million votes. I think people are looking for something that they can control when the world is spinning slightly out of control, and we’ve seen how the adoring fans of South African football have interacted with the campaign. People are just loving that they have so much power. The four main game-changers that are going to end by next Tuesday are the choosing of the starting line-up, the choosing of the formation, the choosing of the captain and the choosing of the penalty takers. They will be announced on Wednesday,” Brand Director Arné Rust said.

Carling Black Label has taken innovation to the next level with the 2021 edition, giving Champions fans an option to vote for penalty takers during the game. Both Letsholonyane and Manenzhe have been impressed with how supporters have voted for the penalty takers.

Samir Nurkovic is leading the votes for the penalty taker, with Khama Billiat and Itumeleng Khune right behind him in second and third. On the Pirates side, Zakhele Lepasa leads the votes for penalty takers in the Pirates side, with Gabadinho Mhango and Happy Jele in second and third respectively.

“I am happy with how the Chiefs fans have voted for the penalty taker. Chiefs supporters are always coming to the party when it comes to voting and they vote for players who they believe will represent the team well on the day. I am impressed with how they have been choosing players,” Letsholonyane said.

Like Letsholonyane, former Pirates striker Manenzhe has given credit to Pirates supporters for the choices they have made with the votes.

“I think the Buccaneers have chosen very well when it comes to the penalty takers. I am happy with those options. They have given the young man Zakhele Lepasa a lot of responsibility. I thought he had a great season for Pirates before he got injured. They have chosen him to be the number one penalty taker. There is Gabadinho Mhango our option two and option three is captain fantastic Happy Jele. So, I would say I am happy with those options,” Manenzhe said.

Supporters of both clubs seem to be in favour of the traditional 4-4-2 formation and former Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini has credited Carling Black Label for introducing formations as part of the game-changers.  

“Formations now are a part of modern football, where it’s just a matter of getting the proper structure and influence in how teams defend and how they go forward. It’s really good to see the innovation and it’s great to see that Carling Black Label has introduced this. We want people to be aware of formations and statistics. Modern football does dictate that you don’t necessarily have to have speed or skill or endurance, but you have to have tactical awareness. My preferred formation is a 4-3-3. I think if I were a coach, my team would play in a 4-3-3 formation.” Dlamini said.

Two lucky supporters over the age of 18 will get the ultimate experience of being Champion coaches on match day, but they will also be part of the pre-match build-up and lead the team out from the dugout. 


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