Chiefs to try their hand at rugby
Football giants Kaizer Chiefs will try their hand at sevens rugby after entering a team for the inaugural NBM Sevens Premier League tournament in George in December.
The football outfit, however, will not be swapping the round ball for the oval one, as a rugby side will represent the team in Amakhosi colours.
“This is definitely a first for South African rugby and probably for South African sport,” tournament promoter Willem Strauss said at the announcement of the team's participation on Monday.
“Witnessing the social cohesion and interaction between different cultures, when the Bulls played their Super Rugby matches in Orlando in 2010, was the inspiration for inviting the soccer giants, Kaizer Chiefs, to participate in the NMB Sevens Premier League.”
The Kaizer Chiefs Sevens will be coached by former Springbok Gcobani Bobo and captained by former Springbok try-scoring ace Breyton Paulse.
The tournament will also feature South African Super Rugby franchises and six corporate teams.
Both Bobo and Paulse played for the Springbok Sevens side, as well as the XV-man national team – two of only a handful of players to turn out at international level for South Africa in both formats.
Bobo said he jumped at the opportunity to coach the side, as he had always dreamed of playing for Chiefs before he started a career in rugby.
"In my early days in sport, I wanted nothing more than to play for Kaizer Chiefs, become a legend and then move to Real Madrid,” Bobo said.
“It did not work out quite that way as I became a rugby player, but this opportunity to be associated with Kaizer Chiefs is one I cannot miss again.
“It will be a massive honour and privilege to coach their team.
"Breyton has vast experience as a player and to tap into that knowledge will be a massive boost to the rest of the team.”
Chiefs marketing manager Jessica Motaung said entering a team under the guise of Amakhosi was the ideal opportunity to bridge the gap between soccer and rugby supporters.
"This is the coming together of two big brands – a crossover of two sporting worlds – and we at Kaizer Chiefs are very excited about it,” Motaung said.
“We like to be part of sports history as a brand and we feel the association with rugby sevens is a historical milestone in football, rugby and sports as a whole.”
Motaung said the soccer brand would work on a special Chiefs rugby jersey for the tournament that would be unveiled ahead of the competition.
The team would go on an extensive search for players to ensure they challenged for the R1 million prize money.
Bobo said he had already had calls from former teammates who wanted to get involved in the side.
The tournament will feature some of the world's best sevens and XV-man players, as well as athletes from other sporting codes.
South African sevens icons such as Fabian Juries, Stefan Basson, Mzwandile Stick and Brent Russell will play alongside and against international stars like Zar Lawrence (New Zealand), Ben Gollings (England), Shane Williams (Wales) and possibly Quade Cooper (Australia).