Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates take to eSports
THEY may only be physically tackling each other in the first Soweto derby of the season at FNB Stadium this Saturday, but Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates started a new rivalry of a different kind this past weekend – in the eSports gaming arena.
Kaizer Chiefs launched an exciting digital chapter of their club’s history with the club’s own gaming arena at the Rush Esports FIFA 17 tournament at the Sandton Convention Centre, while Orlando Pirates participated at the exciting VS Gaming Festival at Gallagher Estate.
Pirates captain Oupa Manyisa took on teammate Tendai Ndoro on the gaming consoles at the star-studded VS Gaming event, which drew over 1 000 gaming enthusiasts and also attracted the likes of Cassper Nyovest, Riky Rick, DJs Fresh and Euphonik, as well as Somizi and Lalla Hirayama.
Going big, the VS Gaming Festival Xbox tournament winner, Zuhair Ebrahim, walked away with a grand prize of R500 000 in prize money.
Event organisers such as Telkom and SuperSport threw the kitchen sink at the inaugural event.
Total prize money amounted to R1.5 million.
Kaizer Chiefs players Siphiwe Tshabalala, Brilliant Khuzwayo and Joseph Molangoana, and even the club’s chairman, Kaizer Motaung, joined the club’s marketing team at the club’s eSports tournament, which saw winner Bevan Richards walk off with R20 000 in prize money, as well as club merchandise and prizes from sponsors such as Vodacom and Nike.
The two Soweto giants’ participation at the weekend’s gaming events indicates how big a market online gaming has become, which any parent will attest to as their kids clamour for expensive PlayStation and Xbox gaming gear.
Chiefs have for years now featured on the EASports FIFA gaming platform, alongside Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United, but they finally made their eSports intentions clear at the weekend.
“This weekend was an absolute rush. It was so much fun, with our players, our chairperson, enthusiastic gamers and the Kaizer Chiefs football family participating,” said Kaizer Chiefs digital manager Kemiso Motaung.
“We were able to make a statement that Kaizer Chiefs is finally going to be playing in the eSports arena. “We should have been on this bandwagon a long time ago, but we’ve been putting our strategy together and are excited to finally be entering the gaming space in a big way,” Motaung added.
And while success on the pitch for Kaizer Chiefs has been hard to come by, they’re now going to be going on a recruitment drive of a different kind in search of gaming success.
“We identified a few interesting players at the tournament this weekend, which was amazing. But for us this was not a one-off event.
“We will now be travelling the country to scout for our own eSports players. We will be commercialising this area, which allows us to look at additional revenue streams and target new markets as part of our club’s digital strategy,” said Motaung.
VS Gaming organisers too were very excited about an event which lived up to its billing as the “largest e-football tournament in Africa”.
“We couldn’t be prouder of what took place this weekend.
“As the first of its kind we put on a spectacular show and brought esports to the everyday South African,” VS Gaming chief executive Cambridge Mokanyane said after the event.
This weekend was an absolute rush