Editorials 30.7.2016 08:00 am

Sell-out crowd is the Zamalek way

Edwin Gyimah of Orlando Pirates challenges Camaldine Abraw of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2016 Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on 05 March 2016 at FNB Stadium  Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Edwin Gyimah of Orlando Pirates challenges Camaldine Abraw of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2016 Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on 05 March 2016 at FNB Stadium Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

On the one hand, the Carling Black Label Cup is a match that is easily denigrated, a game to make the purist cringe and the cynic seethe.

It brands itself as the only game in the world where supporters select the team, but this so-called inclusiveness jars against the fact that the two teams involved – Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates – already dominate the world of South African football sponsorship.

The match smacks of a money-making exercise for the two clubs, and there are those who pine for the Telkom Charity Cup, the previous pre-season tournament, that included at least two other sides and was transparently for a good cause.

Yet there is also no doubting the success of the Black Label Cup and its enormous popularity.

For the sixth year in a row since its inception, a sell-out crowd will pack the FNB Stadium and the supporters clearly love the fact that they have a say in the team.

The marketing ingenuity behind the tournament has to be admired, and however much the cynics and purists stomp their feet, they may as well get used to it.

The Carling Black Label Cup looks set to be a fixture of the football calendar for many years to come.

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