The Carling Black Label Cup, a proudly South African football concept recognising fans of the sport, continues to grow in stature with more technological innovations by roleplayers. This is according to Grant Pereira, brand director of Carling Black Label, who addressed the media at the post-match conference of the fixture between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.Pereira pointed out the successful use of technology by fans to evolve the game, growing support by passionate fans and the roleplayers, the two clubs, Pirates and Chiefs, as well as the organisers.The one-day competition is a first in the world concept that involves fans to influence the game. Fans help select the starting eleven they want to see in action on the day, the two captains of the two participating teams and decide on substitutions as well as the man of the match. Passionate fans embraced all these interesting elements during this year’s eighth edition of the competition played at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday (27/07). “We ran a successful campaign for this celebration of soccer by fans and the members of the media as the fourth part of the campaign, ensuring a lot of activation throughout. Indeed it has been a successful celebration of football. We have an amazing partnership with the two clubs, Chiefs and Pirates, as well as the fans since the beginning of competition in 2011,” said Pereira. Pereira has expressed delight with the use of technology tweets as part of the “game changers” of the tournament affording fans the opportunity to go beyond selecting their starting line-up. The 2019 edition encouraged fans to shape the game by choosing “game-changers” from a selection of seven that impact the rules of the game. These game-changers gave fans more control of the match through technological advancements, format changes and more power to further evolve the game. “The two captains of the clubs, Pirates and Chiefs were selected by fans, and we had fans use Twitter to make substitutions, which went quite well. The fans selected the players they want to see in action. I believe the fans are enjoying the Carling Black Label Cup,” said Pereira.Ian Wright, English football legend and Arsenal striker, has given the thumbs up to this innovative approach in giving fans a bigger role in their team’s decision-making.“Wright said the days were gone where fans or supporters’ role is limited to fill up the stadium. We have seen around the world that the voice of the fan is the most powerful in football and use of technology give them a voice to feel part of the game. It is amazing to see the unity between fans of two rivals’ clubs. Unlike in Europe, Pirates fans celebrated the goals together with those of Chiefs. In Europe you get rejected immediately by opposition fans and that is something one never sees in South Africa.” The Free State duo of Kagisho Moleme and Benny Majoro, had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to coach the two Soweto giants last Saturday. The pair was revealed as the champion coaches of the two clubs and led their respective teams to glory in the exciting match-up. Majoro (39), who hails from Odendaalsrus, was on the losing side as his team, Chiefs, lost 2 – 0 to Pirates, whose candidate was Moleme (37). An emotional Moleme said: “The Carling Black Label Cup is not a 90-minute thing, it is a life-changer. My life is going to change forever. I have been dreaming to be a Champion Coach for my favourite team, Pirates. That is a dream that has been realised,” said Moleme, who is currently based in Ladybrand. He missed out in 2017 as one of the finalists. “It took me more than two and a half hours to reach my home on arrival Sunday as happy fans and ordinary people flanked me, asking questions. I was a celebrated person, thanks to the organisers.” Majoro said: “I really love this concept, it’s a good initiative and a proudly South African concept to give fans something that lasts a lifetime.” Majoro is not overly concerned that Chiefs lost 2 – 0 to Pirates, goals courtesy of Augustine Mulenga and Thembinkosi Lorch, who scored in the first stanza.