3 reasons why the Carling Cup is South Africa’s most popular soccer match

23 Jul 15

Carling Black Label CupThe Carling Black Label Cup , the annual clash of the South African titans Orlando Pirates  and Kaizer Chiefs,  is taking place for its fifth year on Saturday 1 August 2015. With record-breaking attendance and fan participation, it’s definitely a highlight on the soccer calendar and will be broadcast around the country and Africa.

The Carling Black Label Cup is the most-watched South African sporting event year on year, with an average of 5.2 million viewers every year and more than 93 000 people attending at FNB stadium.

But just why is this match so popular? We delved into this legendary clash to find three reasons why the stadium repeatedly fills to record breaking capacity.

1. The fans are in charge

The Carling Black Label Cup is the only soccer match in the world where fans are empowered to effectively be the coach. Every serious sports fan has an opinion on how they would structure their team, instruct them and coach the game. This match enables them to have their voices heard.

Through web and USSD voting, fans get to exercise their expert opinion and have a say in the starting line up, which is selected in the months leading up to the match. Their input doesn’t stop there though: During the first 45 minutes of the match they can also vote for their half time substitutions. The campaign has broken records in the past 4 years, with over 70 million votes counted and 1.8 million unique entrants.

The Champion Coach Experience

The ultimate fan prize though, is winning coach status for this epic match. Two fans are selected from hundreds of thousands of entrants: one to coach each team.

The Champion Coach Experience includes:

  • Revealing the starting line up on Sports@10
  • Training with the team prior to the match, and travelling with them to the stadium on match day
  • Leading the teams on match day
  • Revealing the half time substitution

Watch below for a taste of what it’s like to be a Champion Coach!


2. The history and the teams of the Carling Black Label Cup

Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs share an interesting history in that the roots of one lie in the other. Kaizer Chiefs was started by Kaizer Motaung, who had previously played for Orlando Pirates. After a stint playing professional soccer in the US for a team called the Atlanta Chiefs, he returned home to South Africa. Disappointed with the infighting in his old team, he decided to form his own and Kaizer XI was formed. After initially playing friendly matches, the team eventually formalised to the Kaizer Chiefs.

The Orlando Pirates have been around since the 1930s. In 1939 a breakaway team of young soccer players from the Orlando Boys Club reconvened at the home of Andries ‘Pele Pele’ Mkhwanazi, a boxing instructor at the Boys Club. The team soon became known as “amapirate” and the rest is history.

Both clubs have played an important role in South African football, using their positions to grow the game and act as centre points of their communities, promoting social upliftment and bringing hope. The first official match between these two iconic teams took place in 1970, and has been a highlight on the calendar ever since.

Carling Black Label has been quenching South Africans’ thirst for over 40 years. As one of the most awarded beers in the world, it has developed a reputation as the Champion Beer. As with these two football teams, Zamalek has claimed its space as a South African icon.

Who will take home the Carling Black Label cup this year?


The Carling Black Label Cup Winners

  • 2011: Orlando Pirates
  • 2012: Orlando Pirates
  • 2013: Kaizer Chiefs
  • 2014: Orlando Pirates
  • 2015: ?

3. A well-matched rivalry

Each of these South African soccer giants holds top spots in the Premier Soccer League and boasting some of the largest fan-bases, with some of the most passionate supporters in the country.

Recent (2014/2105) PSL League and MTN 8 Series tournaments were won by Amakhosi, while the Buccaneers have made it through to the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup. This places them equally well to win the big match on Saturday 1st August 2015 at FNB stadium.

What is your prediction for the Carling Black Label Cup this year?  Share comments below or go to www.carlingblacklabel.co.za to select your starting line-up and change the game!