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Kings of Soweto: Khune & Nurkovic most popular among all Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates players

10:39 SAST 2021/06/24
Itumeleng Khune - Kaizer Chiefs February 2020
Now heading into it's ninth edition (Pirates lead Chiefs 5-3), the competition has become integral with the start of the new season in South Africa

Among the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates players, Amakhosi shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune is far and away the most popular player with the fans.

This is based on the voting for next season's Carling Black Label Cup.

The match is especially popular with the supporters as they get to choose the starting line-up on the day, and also to decide on substitutions, via a voting system. One supporter from either side is also selected to sit on the bench for the game and to be in charge of proceedings.

And after a couple of weeks of voting, Khune has emerged as the most popular player for either team - as of Thursday 10.15 am he was sitting on 104 451 votes.

This is despite the fact that Khune has not had the greatest of seasons and has at times lost his place in the team, first to Daniel Akpeyi and later to Bruce Bvuma.

And it was Bvuma who was the hero last weekend when he made some brilliant saves in Amakhosi’s 1-0 win over Wydad Casablanca in a first-leg semi-final encounter.

The 29-year-old Nurkovic, who was on target against Wydad, has at the same stage amassed an impressive 97 767 votes.

The Serbian is yet to commit his future to Amakhosi and there was talk late last year that he was wanted by Pitso Mosimane at Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

The next most popular player among the fans (from both Chiefs and Pirates) is Khama Billiat - the Zimbabwean forward and Caf Champions League winner from his time with Mamelodi Sundowns - who currently has 60 944 votes.

Coming in fourth, and the most popular Bucs player at present, is Malawian marksman Gabadinho Mhango. The former Bidvest Wits, Golden Arrows and Bloemfontein Celtic striker currently has 58 082 votes to his name.

Interestingly - considering he missed most of last season through injury, is that Pirates striker Zakhele Lepasa comes in at number five with 49 795 votes.

The remainder of the top (combined for both clubs) 10 are:

6. Richard Ofori: 50 670

7. Nkosingiphile Ngcobo: 44 044

8. Dumisani Zuma: 41 118

9. Lebogang Manyama: 40 294

10. Happy Jele: 39 366