Saturday, 24 June 2017

Orlando Pirates & Kaizer chiefs Players Split.

The passion felt by Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates fans often transcends family ties and that is certainly the case when it comes to rugby superstar twins Akona and Odwa Ndungane.

The former Springbok wingers will be on opposite sides of the Soweto Derby divide when the Carling Black Label Champion Cup is played at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 29 July 2017.

The twin brothers are passionate about their respective teams, while Akona chose the gold and black of Kaizer Chiefs, Odwa grew up with a love for the black and white of Orlando Pirates.

“In our family, it was always about these two big teams. My uncle was a big Pirates fan and I enjoyed his passion for the team, so that is where my love for The Buccaneers comes from.

“If my schedule permits, I fly up from Durban to be with Akona to watch the Soweto Derby, there is no love lost on that day,” Odwa said. Odwa further added that up until the age of 14, it was closely contested as to whether he would pursue a career in soccer or rugby, but finally, the oval ball won the day.

It was the same for Akona, a Rugby World Cup winner with South Africa in 2007, who says that despite the major differences in the sports, there are similarities. There is formation and discipline that is required in rugby as in football.

“I played soccer before rugby and I would have loved to have played for Kaizer Chiefs,” Akona said. “I played midfield and striker, but I enjoyed being a striker most because if you score you become the hero of the day, which is why I played as a winger for the Bulls.”

He says his passion for Chiefs came from watching Doctor Khumalo in his prime, running the midfield for AmaKhosi. “Growing up in Umtata, I always looked forward to Chiefs playing against the now defunct Umtata Bush Bucks.”

Like all Chiefs and Pirates fans, Odwa and Akona will have to apply their minds to what formations they would like to see in the Carling Black Label Champion Cup this season with the new innovation seeing fans selecting their favourite system.

The four formations provided to the fans in the 2017 Carling Black Label Champion Cup are: the oldest but still in regular use 4-4-2, giving both attacking and defensive balance.

The offensive 3-5-2 and 3-4-3, placing more players up the pitch for high-pressure football and the most popular attacking formation in modern football 4-3-3, leaving enough cover at the back for possible counter-attacks.

Champion Coaches who are over the age of 18 can stand a chance of winning the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match day experience where two lucky fans will join their favourite team in training, sit in the pre-match briefing and be part of the technical set-up on match day.