South Africa's Orlando Pirates Football Club has announced their entry into professional eSports by revealing their offical FIFA eSports team. The one time CAF Champions League winning club has indicated that their eSports team will eventually be looking to move into the more popular eSports segments such as Counter-Strike, League of Legends and/or Dota.
For the first year, however, the club will be focussing its efforts on the Electronic Arts franchise, FIFA.
3 of the 10 Orlando Pirates eSports team players. Left to right: Sattar Hoosein, Abubakar Akhalwaya and Weiming Chen.
“The eSports industry is exploding and there is a huge talent pool in South Africa with untapped potential. 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,” said Tokoloho Moeketsi, Brand Activation Manager at Orlando Pirates.
The newly announced team will be made up of 10 contracted players and will be captained by 3-time FIWC contender Abubakar Akhalwaya.
“This is a journey that has taken about three years with the Club. I am very happy to be part of this new venture and look forward to being part of the Orlando Pirates eSports family.” said Akhalwaya.
2017 has seen eSports gain popularity and money being pumped into the industry in South Africa. During May 2017 Telkom South Africa launched their new e-Sports company, VS Gaming. We also saw the launch of a dedicated eSports channel by Supersport as well as the largest eSports tournament to ever be hosted on Afrikan soil being held in South Africa.
Orlando Pirates has indicated their seriousness with the eSports team by mentioning that they will now have an eSports division that will offer support for training, events and provide eSports-related logistical knowledge and support for their contracted players.