Kaizer Chiefs and Or­lando Pi­rates take to eS­ports

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

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

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