• Pirates, Sociedad come together for Fifa 20 Challenge

    Orlando Pirates have teamed up with Real Sociedad in organising a friendly Fifa 20 challenge between the Absa Premiership club and the LaLiga side to raise funds in the fight against COVID-19.

    Supersport will broadcast this charitable event to fight COVID-19 in an unparalleled initiative across the continent.

    The two clubs, which are currently placed 4th in the log standings of their respective leagues, have selected a player each to represent their teams, who will play three matches. The champion will be the player who wins two out of three games.

    The Whites and Blues have put their faith in Sweden international Alexander Isak – who has been in good form this season with 14 goals in 34 games – has already received the hero status from the Sociedad fans when he scored the winning goal in the Basque derby on 9 February 2020. The most recent achievement for ‘Giraffe’ was winning the Kick COVID FIFA20 tournament.

    Representing the Buccaneers will be young striker Zakhele Lepasa who has his sights set high with Orlando Pirates for the 2019/20 season as he looks to continue pursuing more titles with the Buccaneers. ‘Zakes’ has already tasted silverware in top tier South African football after scoring the winning penalty against current PSL log-leaders Kaizer Chiefs during his loan-spell at National First Division side TS Galaxy.

    The FIFA 20 Challenge, which is scheduled to be aired on Wednesday 3 June 2020 at 19:40, will be broadcasted on SuperSport Channel 204 to fans all over the continent to feast their eyes on while encouraging the viewer and fans to make donations to South Africa’s Solidarity Fund. There will also be giveaways courtesy of both teams around the much-anticipated game.

    These two clubs equally boast a rich football history and legacy. Founded in 1909, Real Sociedad is one of the founding members of the Spanish league and in their 110 years of existence has won the LaLiga title in the 1980-81 and 1981-82 season, respectively. The club from the small Spanish city of San Sebastián has also won the Copa del Rey on two occasions – in 1909 and 1987. Also, this season they got to the Copa del Rey final, which is still to be played.

    Hailing from the Basque Country, a region in northern Spain, means every season La Real contests in the inter-city rivalry game, coined the ‘The Basque Derby’ or ‘Derby Vasco’, against Athletic Bilbao. There have been 147 LaLiga Basque derbies to date.

    Contrarily, Orlando are the first club since the inception of the PSL in 1996 to have won three major trophies in a single season back-to-back, having won the domestic league ABSA Premiership, the Nedbank Cup, MTN 8 in 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons. They are one of only two South African teams, with Mamelodi Sundowns, to win the CAF Champions League, which they bagged in 1995.

    Founded in 1937 in the township of Orlando, Soweto, Amabhakabhaka boast a total of four PSL trophies and a number of gold medals in the respective domestic cup competitions, namely the Nedbank Cup, Telkom Knockout and the MTN 8.

    Further comparison between both teams can be attributed to the South Africa’s Soweto Derby, a big fixture for the team from Orlando. A rivalry that spans an interesting forty-years. Every year this game sees city rivals Orlando Pirates battle Kaizer Chiefs in one of the most fiercely contested football matches on the African continent. Colloquially coined the ‘El Kasico’ in remembrance of LaLiga’s El Clasico, this match has seen 160 duels between the two Arch-rivals.

    Real Sociedad’s Forward, Alex Isak said ‘this match is a great chance to have our South African supporters closer and start a friendship with the Orlando Pirates team. We all have a common goal which is to fight against Covid-19.’

    Former Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund attacker and current Real Sociedad star, Adnan Januzaj also showed his support to the cause and also took the time to wish his friend good luck ahead of this global showcase.

    ‘As a Real Sociedad representative and a player, we are honoured to form part of this initiative and work hand-in-hand with South African players to rally support for those who have been affected by the virus. I also want to wish my teammate good luck. Make us proud and come back with the title,’ said the Januzaj.

    On the other hand, Buccaneers’ Striker, Zakhele Lepasa added: ‘These are difficult times for all. I am sure all the fans of the beautiful game miss the raw energy and excitement of seeing their favourite players in action. For us players it’s amazing to be in a position to bridge the gap across continents and bring the football community together once more.’

    ‘The best part is that while we reconnect with our fans in both Europe and Africa through this great initiative from La Liga, we also get to help raise funds in the fight against COVID-19,’ concluded Lepasa.

    This initiative is one of LaLiga’s projects in South Africa that highlight the need to bring LaLiga closer to its fans with the help of the local clubs and with football currently on-hold all eyes will be on this supranational clash.

    As elaborated by Marcos Pelegrin, LaLiga South Africa Managing Director, ‘Our aim is to bridge the gap between Spanish and South African fans while helping Mzansi fight the current pandemic and this was the best way to achieve that. Considering the calibre of the two clubs involved we are in for an interesting encounter that will bring joy to the viewers.’

    The actual FIFA 20 battle will be broadcasted through SuperSport across Africa and the objective will be to raise funds to fight COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.

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