Despite a season to forget, Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune remains popular among the club’s faithfuls.
This is reflected in the Chiefs starting line-up voted for by the fans ahead of Amakhosi’s off-season Carling Black Label Cup derby against Orlando Pirates in July.
The 33-year-old goalminder was seconded by the fans ahead of his competitors Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma.
Khune made just 18 appearances in all competitions in the recently concluded season and was last in goal for Chiefs in their 1-0 defeat to Chippa United towards the end of April, after which he was sidelined by a shoulder strain.
Khama Billiat and Dumisani Zuma have also been seconded by the fans despite both seeing limited game time last season.
The two Amakhosi fan favourites lead a Chiefs starting team that also features defenders Eric Mathoho, Daniel Cardoso, Reeve Frosler and Siyabonga Ngezana.
Votes for midfielders went to Zuma, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Lebogang Manyama and Njabulo Blom, while Billiat and Samir Nurkovic have been nominated to lead the attack.
Much like Khune, Pirates defender Thulani Hlatshwayo has also proved to be a popular figure among the Bucs followers.
The 31-year-old enjoyed an impressive debut for Pirates after his move from the now-defunct Bidvest Wits, but he endured a dip in form in the second half of the campaign. This led to him being dropped from Bafana Bafana, where he was captain.
In a turn of events, he is part of the leading names in Bucs’ defensive unit that is made up of Richard Ofori in goal, Happy Jele, Innocent Maela and Wayde Jooste.
Also leading the votes are Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule, Ben Motshwari, Fortune Makaringe, Deon Hotto, Gabadinho Mhango
and Zakhele Lepasa.
The Carling Black Label Cup is staged ahead of a new season to give fans a sneak preview of their team’s new signings, new kits and state of readiness. This latest clash between the two Soweto giants has again put the power in the hands of the fans as they select their starting line-up and preferred formation for the showpiece.
Although fans will not be allowed at the stadium for this year’s spectacle, two lucky fans, over the age of 18, will have a unique opportunity to be the “ultimate champion coaches” and will shout instructions from the opposite benches on match day.
The winning fans will also be involved in the build-up training and sit in the pre-match media briefing.
Formation – Coaches can vote for the formation of their team;
Captain selection – Coaches can vote for the captain from their starting line-up;
Penalty taker – Coaches can vote for who will take the in-game penalty(ies);
Twitter substitutions – Coaches can make real-time player substitutions via Twitter on game day; and
Man of the Match – Coaches can vote for the man of the match via Twitter on game day.
To participate, fans can enter by purchasing a selected Carling Black Label beer and dialing *120*660* unique code #