First FIFA, and then the big three. That’s the timeline of Orlando Pirates’ esports intentions.
A statement on the team’s site read as follows: “For the first year, Orlando Pirates will focus its eSports energies on Electronic Arts franchise FIFA and will later look to moving into the more popular eSports segments such as Counter-Strike, League of Legends and/or Dota.”
The club’s Brand Activation Manager Tokoloho Moeketsi, commented: “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.”
The South African club will sign no less then ten players to begin with, who will all be contracted. This is a fairly strong signal that they are committed to, and believe, in esports and its capacity to be of benefit to Orlando Pirates going forward.
FIFA pro and former FIWC contender Abubakar Akhalwaya will captain the team. He said: “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.”
The Orlando Pirates made this announcement in the immediate aftermath of rAge Expo, South Africa’s largest gaming expo held in Johannesburg.
Esports Insider says: Another club in the space, especially a club from a region in which precious few major organisations have committed resources to esports, is good news. Of course it was music to our ears that there are already plans in place to move into titles such as League, CS:GO and potentially Dota and not do the typical football club move of entering FIFA only.