One of South Africa’s most notable football clubs, Orlando Pirates, has officially announced their brand new esports division which will focus on FIFA for the time being with the aspirations of moving into other popular titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, league of Legends and/or Dota 2.
“The eSports industry is exploding and there is a huge talent pool in South Africa with untapped potential,” said Tokoloho Moeketsi, Brand Activation Manager. “We have noticed that the level of professionalism in eSports has continued to grow over the past years and as Orlando Pirates we feel that now is the right time to enter this industry.”
The Orlando Pirates came into the esports light during the VS Gaming Football Festival back in July. At the competition, which saw one of the largest prize pool in esports, the top 10 players were offered contracts with the Orlando Pirates where “the Club will power the eSports division and offer support for training, events and provide eSports-related logistical knowledge and support.”
Pirates Esports, as they’re known, have also announced the players who will form part of the squad. In there are some recognizable names including the VS Gaming Football Festival winner Zuhair Ebrahim and Kyle Turnbull, a former multiple MSSA champion. Pirates have also offered up a rather young squad with four players being under the age of 20, the youngest being 16. The team will be captained by Abubaker Akhalwaya will take up the task of managing and coaching some of the best players on the continent.
Pirates now cement themselves as the first South African sporting organization to pick up esports, and the choice of FIFA is a no brainer. It’s refreshing that they’ve announced their interest in other esports titles and it won’t be long before we’ll see a Pirates Esports CS:GO squad taking part in some of South Africa’s top competitions. A few months ago we chatted about what it would mean for a sporting organization to show interest in esports, and with Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates already showing interest it’s only a matter of time before more organizations begin to pick up esports teams and the inevitable shift will happen.
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Last Updated: October 12, 2017