The Carling Black Label Cup is less than two months away and it’s hardly a surprise that the excitement continues to grow. Fans of the beautiful game are again empowered to have a say in a competition that has become part of South African football culture.
Over 1.4 million votes have been received in the campaign to date, including votes for players that the champion fans want to see make the Carling All-Star starting line-up on 6th January at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Champion fans have until 21 December to select their dream line-up to take on the side that will lift the inaugural Carling Knockout Cup on 16 December between AmaZulu, Richards Bay, TS Galaxy, and Stellenbosch FC.
While both Orlando Pirates FC and Kaizer Chiefs FC have been knocked out of the Carling Knockout Cup, the Soweto giants’ players have an opportunity to redeem themselves going into the Carling Black Label Cup as they make up the bulk of the Carling All-Star team.
The Chiefs’ duo of Itumeleng Khune and Ashley du Preez, along with Pirates’ Kermit Erasmus are leading the voting with over 23 000 votes each.
In a surprise twist of events, Diski young sensations hailing from Kaizer Chiefs and Amazulu are joined by Orlando Pirates’ Monnapule Saleng completing the All-Star studded midfield.
With champion fans displaying their knowledge and love of the beautiful game, Mamelodi Sundown’s Diski Challenge players are dominating the five slots reserved for players from the Diski Challenge teams. This means Sundown’s midfield maestro, Themba Zwane and Teboho Mokoena will have to surpass Saleng with votes to get into the All-Star team.
Erasmus and Du Preez lead the attack with Khune in goal and the back four features Pirates’ duo of Paseka Mako and Olisa Ndah. The duo is currently partnered with Sundown’s Diski Challenge pair, Thabiso Nkabinde and Kutlwano Mohanwe.
Champion fan have not only been given the power to pick their starting line-up, but they also get to choose the coach who will lead the side. The Carling All-Star team could be led by Orlando Pirates’ coach Jose Riveiro. The Spaniard, who won the first knockout competition on offer this season, leads the votes followed by Mamelodi Sundowns’ Rhulani Mokwena who recently guided the Brazilians to their first African Football League trophy.
The two coaches are neck-and-neck in the fight for the hot seat, for the coach who will manage the Carling All-Star team.
The champion supporters have shown that they are looking for a coach with a winning mentality as the top two coaches have lifted trophies this season.
Steve Barker, who has transformed Stellenbosch from relegation candidates to championship contenders, makes up the top three leading coaches.
If the coach and players that fans select for the Carling All-Star team are part of the Carling Knockout champions, the champion fans will get those votes back to place on eligible candidates from the teams that have been knocked out.
Six players from the remaining 15 Premiership clubs would be eligible to make the Carling All-Star starting line-up and five will be called up from the Diski Challenge. This is to ensure that not only the country’s finest take part in the match, but up and coming Diski Challenge stars also get to rub shoulders with their role models, getting an opportunity to learn from the best.
Supporters can vote for their favorite players by purchasing a selected 750ml or 500ml Carling Black Label. They must then dial *120*660# and follow the on-screen prompts. Fans can also vote on the website; www.carlingblacklabelcup.co.za. Ts&Cs apply, USSD 20c/20s.
To stay up to date with any further announcements, fans should check the official brand website and social media pages:
Facebook: Carling Black Label
Official Hashtag: #CarlingCup #CarlingKnockout